Published Dec 21, 2017Entertainment giant Netflix is handily releasing new content just in time for audiences to binge over the holiday season, including action-fantasy film Bright. For a big-budget release, Bright features many lower-profile supporting actors, including Australian actress Lucy Fry. She's played a bloodsucker in the teen movie Vampire Academy, and a mermaid in Australian show Mako Mermaids, and with Bright, Fry adds to her otherworldly resume the role of magical elf Tikka, a character who relies on orc/human police partners Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) and Ward (Will Smith) for protection from a sinister cult.
Fry is bubbly and in her praise for her co-stars and director David Ayer, even though Ayer had her performing her scenes entirely in Elvish and sent her on a pilgrimage up L.A.'s Mount Baldy to recite an Elvish prayer the day before shooting commenced.
"I sat up there saying my prayer in Elvish for an hour or so," she tells Exclaim! "I was trying to hide from all the tourists!" she laughs. "But they're used to the hippies going up the mountain and doing weird stuff." It took ages for Fry to learn the language, which strays completely from Tolkien's flowery Elvish and most closely resembles what Fry describes as a grittier, staccato variation of Japanese.
"I'm such a nerd," she confesses with a proud grin, "I studied it so diligently and at the end Joel was like, 'You know that no one will know if you get it wrong, right?'"
Bright pushes the confines of genre — think Training Day meets Willow — especially with how directly the film addresses racial discrimination and abuse of power in a world where elf lives matter more than orcs'. Will Smith has spoken to press about the self-exploration involved with being an actor of colour portraying a racist policeman, which begs the question if Fry underwent any similar introspection. Her character is member of the race that serves as blatant stand-in of the one-percent: how did that resonate?
"Playing this role, it made me look at everything in my life. David helped me to go to some really dark places of things inside myself," Fry says earnestly. She admits that her former approach was to check out of certain scary realities of the world, but that filming Bright helped her to evolve from that position.
"One of the big messages of the movie is to stay present, to look at the underbelly of America — or whatever society or whatever culture you're in — to look at it and stand it and stand what you see and create change from there."
Does she feel nervous about becoming part of the extremely sensitive conversation concerning class, race and abuse of power?
"I feel really proud to be part of a movie that talks about these issues in a way that's really entertaining and really fun," she says. "It's not preachy at all, it's not like a political movie that makes a statement the whole time," she adds, brow furrowed and beating her fist into her palm in an impression of these so-called preachy films.
"Interpersonal relationships are where change happens. And in a world that's segregated and unfair, these two people start to create change through their friendship."
Bright debuts on Netflix on December 22.