“Thank God I’m obsessed with elves and a weirdo who loves Elvish,” says Lucy Fry. Who can say the same?
When she was 10 years old, the Aussie actress was bewitched by Liv Tyler as Arwen in “The Lord of the Rings” series and has been fascinated with elves ever since. She never thought her obsession would come in handy until she read the script for “Bright,” the David Ayer-directed fantasy starring Will Smith that reportedly cost Netflix $90 million to make.
“Bright” is set in downtown Los Angeles in an alternate world in which humans, elves and orcs have coexisted since the beginning of time — but not without issue. Relationships between species are complicated and tense. Elves occupy the upper echelons of society, followed by humans and then orcs. Smith plays police officer Daryl Ward and Joel Edgerton plays Nick Jakoby, Ward’s right hand who is also an orc — a rarity that not only leads to tension at the police station; it causes Jakoby to be ostracized by the orc community. Fry plays Tikka, an elf with a loaded wand who has just broken free from a cult that worships an evil force called the Dark Lord.
“It’s like a power-hungry, Illuminati-style cult and [Tikka’s] run away from it in order to try to find who she is and how to be good and to fight for a world that’s equal,” Fry explains. When Tikka runs away, members of the cult come looking for her. And they want their wand back.
Complex as it is, the film is actually a metaphor for the deep-rooted societal issues of today. “We started filming end of 2016 and it was as a lot of this stuff was coming up,” Fry says. “David’s intention is to wake people up. Ward and Tikka and Jakoby, they’re all waking up to who they are and they’re all breaking out of these limitations. They’re forming a bond so they can protect the whole world. It’s showing that your friendships and the way you are with yourself and the people around you in everyday life, that’s what changes the world.”
Throughout the film, Fry speaks in Elvish — or rather, a version of it made up by David Peterson, who is also responsible for creating the languages in “Game of Thrones.” The Elvish language in “Bright” is apparently based on ancient Finnish. As Tikka is quite active, Fry also underwent training. She started taking karate lessons after booking the part and had her yellow belt by the time filming began.
Most of the shoots took place at night, which proved to be a bit of an adjustment for the actress. “At first it was kind of hard to change over to the night schedule, but then I ended up loving it,” she says. “The sun would go down, then all of the magical creatures would come out in downtown L.A. It was almost like we had the whole downtown city to ourselves ‘cause everyone else was asleep. We’d all start running around and I’d have my elf ears on. I’d wake up the next morning and be like, Was that a dream?”
She adds that Ayer taught her how to stand up for herself while Smith taught her compassion. “He is the most loving person,” she says of the “Fresh Prince” actor. “He’s got that reputation in the industry for being a beautiful, kind, compassionate person to work with and it’s true. He walks into a room and he lifts everyone up. There was one day he started singing Christmas carols to everyone to make everyone feel good and to get everybody thinking right. It was extraordinary.”
Earlier this week, it was announced that “Bright” had been approved for a sequel, despite garnering mixed reviews. Smith is already on board for part two. Will Fry make use of her elf obsession once more?
Anything is possible.