Will Smith on why he plays so many movie cops — and why 'Bright' is different

Will Smith has played a cop onscreen so many times now he could probably legally arrest someone. “I feel like I can,” Smith told Yahoo Entertainment (watch above) at the Los Angeles press day for Bright, Netflix’s new sci-fi thriller that takes place in an alternate world where the LAPD deals with not only human lawbreakers, but orc, elf, and fairy troublemakers as well. “I could definitely make someone think that I knew what I was doing.

Prior to Bright, which teams Smith’s patrolman with the department’s first orc (Joel Edgerton), Smith flexed a badge in two Bad Boys movies, I, Robot, and the Men in Black trilogy. But Bright, which the Oscar-nominated actor describes as a hybrid of Training Day and Lord of the Rings, marks the first time Smith embarked on ride-alongs with real officers.

And it gave him a new appreciation for law enforcement.

“Policing is a very difficult, excruciating job,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest no-win careers. On your best days, you’re going to call after call of the worst moments in everybody’s life. If you have to go, that means it’s the worst moment in somebody’s life.

“It was interesting to see it from that perspective.”

Bright opens in select theaters and is available on Netflix Friday.

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