David Ayer's Bright Works As 'Sharp Social Commentary' of Today's Issues

Edgar Ramirez first made his mark in the acting world with his role as Carlos the Jackal in the series of the same name. His performance in that series led to him winning the Cesar Award for Most Promising Actor. Since then, he has had roles in Zero Dark Thirty, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Wrath of the Titans. Edgar Ramirez will be playing Kandomere in Netflix’s Bright, which is being released on Netflix on December 22, 2017.

Screen Rant got a chance to talk with Edgar Ramirez on press day, where we discussed his initial thoughts upon reading the script for Bright, how the film tackles racial and social issues, and how the film is relevant to current socio-political times.

SR: Super, super interesting concept with being so fantastical but also so grounded.

Edgar Ramirez: Yeah.

SR: When you first read the script what were your initial thoughts?

Edgar Ramirez: Well, as you just said, I was very intrigued by the gamble of the story that at first is a fantastic thriller, you know, a fantastical thriller you would describe it in the most simplistic terms. I would say yeah, it was a fantastical thriller where, you know, different species interact and they're trying to protect people from magic but deep inside it's a very sharp social commentary of issues. Very important issues that are part of our everyday lives especially in a city like Los Angeles.

I think that the movie touches upon subjects and themes that are very relevant and that are very pointed to us. The issue of the identity. Who do we relate with our identity not only within the groups I mean, not only in relation to other social, ethnic, or racial-cultural groups but how do we relate within our own with what society also tells us that is our own group. I think that very interesting and also the issue of empathy. How do we understand the other? How do we approach the other, you know? The stereotypes, and the cliches, and the archetypes are so oppressive you know, in not only in American society but in all societies in the world because this is not only an American issue. It happens everywhere.

SR: That's very interesting because that you touched on it a lot like what I was going to ask you about. How do you think this film handles racial and social issues because it definitely it's so relevant but you wouldn't expect...

Edgar Ramirez: In a movie like this.

SR: Exactly! That's pretty interesting that you hit on that. I got to ask you, with your character, because these characters are so fantastical because they come from the fantasy-based world, did you know anything about your character's backstory in particular that we maybe didn't see on screen?

Edgar Ramirez: Well, there will be things that will uh, okay, let me rephrase because there's certain things that can't say. Yeah, I mean there's a mythology in the story you know, that will be revealed, you know, uh...

SR: In the future possibly?

Edgar Ramirez:  In the future. Yeah (laughs) So there's definitely a mythology and that was also very exciting. It was very exciting to be part of, you know, the dawn of a new mythology in cinema. Especially in the, you know the landscape for better or for worse, and for the for reasons, it's all about the remakes. It's all about the reboots and I'm apart of it. I did Point Break, which was a reboot, so it's not that I'm against it. What I'm saying is that it's interesting. It's very exciting to be part of a project that offers a new mythology. Like to look into a new mythology and this was happening with Bright you know? Yeah, there's your different species, groups, races so to speak with a very specific place in society. And the stories basically explores the interaction of all these groups, you know, and how we understand, as I said before, how do you understand the other, and how do you find your place in the world. Your own place in the world because there's something very interesting about, for example, like Joel's (Edgerton) character and my character. Joel's character, he's an Org and he's supposed to do to just stay as an Org and he's not supposed to be in the law enforcement because that is it because the Org's are the criminals according to what that society is telling the people. And in the case of the Elves, they are on top of the food chain, and they are supposed to be the rulers, and they're supposed to have ultimate power but Candamir rebels against that. He wants that power to be contained. He doesn't want to abuse power. I mean, it is very expected from Elves to abuse power because that's that's their place in society but he's ready to step down and say no. There is, you know we have to force compassion, and we have to control, we have to contain power. I mean, absolute power corrupts absolutely. So they're both rebelling against what society expects from them, you know, so want to move one wants to move up, and wants to break out of the stereotype. The other one wants to say, I want to be normal and I want to be connected to the rest of the of the of the members of society as possible, you know? So it's very interesting how the, I mean you're an Elf. You're supposed to be to be rich and to be powerful. just to leave in a certain area of the city and he rebels against that.

SR: Kandomere intrigues me the most. That's why if there is a sequel I want it more focused around your characters. I feel like there's so much so much more that I want to see witH what he's doing and the bureau and stuff like that. I think is so interesting.

Edgar Ramirez: Because it's the law. And he wants to be, I mean he wants to believe in balance and in harmony. he knows what war is. He knows what magic can...  which is a great metaphor for a lot of things, yet magic, as a concept within the mythology of the movie, you know? He knows why but I mean the way I interpret it, is like he knows how absolutely absolute power can corrupt.

SR: I feel like he's seen it before.

Edgar Ramirez: He's seen it before because they're super old. The elves can live like a hundred fifty years or something. Yeah.

SR: Now how was it worth collaborating with David Ayer?

Edgar Ramirez: Amazing! I mean, he the reason I wanted to do this movie because again the story. This story, the mythology is fascinating but again in the wrong hands then there's no guarantee. It could have gone, you know, in so many wrong directions but he's such a great director and storyteller who understands this world very well. I mean, he understands otherness very well, you know? He knows what it feels like to be on the on the wrong side of the tracks and he understands what he feels to be on the, you know, the opposite side of privilege. He understands that. He's from South Central. I mean, he's from South Los Angeles, he understands the other side of the city that not many people get to see and that understanding was very important to me, you know, because he able to give, to infuse this fantastical world with so much reality.

SR: I'm from South Los Angeles very much like a familiar place that i grew up seeing.

Edgar Ramirez: So I ask you, how do you feel how do you feel?

SR: Amazing! So it's weird because like I grew up on a street that looked just like where we're where Will Smith's character, Ward lived and I was like man, this looks like a neighborhood that I grew up in. it felt like it was lived in for me. It was a world that I knew but without all these fantastical creatures.

Edgar Ramirez: Which is nothing but a metaphor.

SR: Exactly. Nothing but a metaphor, so when I saw the trailer for Bright at Comic-Con it blew me away and the movie lived up to the expectation. That's why I'm happy. Can you talk about possibly a sequel? I know you kind of mentioned it a little bit and I'm sure you can't say much about it, but if there was a sequel where would you want to see your character go?

Edgar Ramirez: I just want to I would love to see all characters going to places. To places that they haven't been before. That what this new world and mythologies all about. It's about breaking out from what you are, you know? It's a sign. I think that these characters want to take control of their own lives and basically when we try to find our place in the world we have to defy a lot of rules. We have to break out of the convention in order to achieve your true self and it's normal. I mean, so society in general, and social rules, and social constructs will always try to tell you what your place in the world is and I think that this again, this movie, the story is all about, you know, the pursuit of identity by your own identity, and I would love our characters to to to keep pursuing their true selves.

SR: Something you spoke about or earlier was being on the forefront of something different. This is something brand new. Something else that's also brand new is Netflix getting involved with these big blockbuster films. Now you don't have to worry about opening day because every day's an opening day. How is it for you as an actor to get even seeing a part of that process. This is a whole new kind of medium for Blockbuster films to be released in.

Edgar Ramirez: Yeah. You know it was it was just natural. You know, it was a natural, I think it was a next step to this amazing revolution that we're seeing.  I was just talking to this journalist earlier just before you walked in, I try to every day when I work, and when I wake up in the morning, as much as possible to understand my time in history. The time that I'm leaving the history. I want to be a man of my time. I want to be as open as possible. I'm fascinated by what we're seeing. I'm fascinated by what Netflix is causing. How Netflix just changed the landscape and the things that is triggering, you know I mean? It's just a different way not only to consume content but to look at the world in most of our consumption patterns are changed and that is fascinating to me. It's fascinating to be how revolutionary this moment is, you know, and the fact that now you can make a movie of this scale, you know, and it went from shooting the film to showing the film. So no filters.

SR: With Netflix being what it is right now, where do you see the future of cinema going?

Edgar Ramirez: I mean, cinema will always, I mean, in my opinion, cinema is a spirit, you know? It's a way of telling stories. It's not a format, right?  It's a way of building into storytelling and exposing it in a very specific, very sharp, very felt, interesting way. That's for me, is cinema so honestly, I don't care where you see my films, as long as you see them. So if my films are going to be seen on your i Phone or your smartphone, I'm happy. I mean, the amount of work that it takes to make a movie for so many people. I mean, we actors are just the tip of the iceberg. I mean, we are that we're the visible faces but there are thousands of amazing faces that you don't get to see but without you would never be able tto pull this off. I mean, it's just so many people behind so it's very exciting to me, that now there are so many different ways for your dream movies to be to be put out there, you know? I mean, we are at the beginning of this revolution. I mean, in five years, I guess the landscape will be completely different. I mean, I'm not thinking about ten years, I mean, actually five years maybe too far out. Maybe three years things are completely different so I'm very excited to see where this is going. But I think that is the way we live, the way we consume content, the way we will look at movies, or we'll look at content, also this beautiful cross between cinema and television. Now easier for the director a writer to put their material out there and to have their dreams come true, you know, In a way and it's fascinating. I'm very excited.

Stay Tuned For More Coverage from Bright!

Key Release Dates
  • Bright (2017) release date: Dec 22, 2017
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