British singer-songwriter Jeymes Samuel has come up with an interesting debut feature titled The Harder They Fall which is scheduled to be the opening film at this year’s London Film Festival. Netflix has also picked up the project and interested viewers can access The Harder They Fall via the famous streaming platform soon enough.
Idris Elba is set to star as Rufus Buck from the infamous gang who went on a crime spree in the late 19th century in Samuel’s revision of the western genre. The film boasts of a star-studded cast, featuring Atlanta stars Zazie Beetz and Lakeith Stanfield as well as the indomitable Regina King who can be seen in the trailers online.
Samuel spoke about his intentions to create a Black western: “I really, really loved westerns, but I would just see a really clear inconsistency with the portrayals of people of colour, basically in the Old West and being such a fan of actors like Woody Strode, who was amazing in Spartacus but then you’ll see him pop up in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and he couldn’t get a drink in the bar.”
Adding, “I just grew up wanting to know more about people of colour and women and all of these ideas of the Old West that I was not getting from the Hollywood movies. And so I would just buy books and would…uncover amazing characters — both heroes and villains, both men and women of all colours.”
While talking about the importance of representation and the flaws of the western genre, Samuel explained: “What if there were women and people of colour who weren’t subservient in some way? I think it’s really important to give a rounded and more balanced version of events. For me, it’s almost like this movie isn’t the Old West. It’s the New West.”
He also mentioned his 50-minute short film They Die By Dawn which was also an experiment at making a Black western: “What I learned from that film is the enthusiasm that people have for watching people of colour in the Old West, and also strong women in the Old West, from the cast, to the crew, to the public. The biggest takeaway from They Die By Dawn was, ‘Okay, the world is ready for The Harder They Fall.'”
The Harder They Fall will be released in selected UK and US cinemas on October 22, before landing on Netflix on November 3. Take a look at the new exclusive image from the production below.