It’s time to say hello to the new Black Western with the release of Jeymes Samuel’s Netflix film, The Harder They Fall, which has all of the trademark things you’d associate with the genre while delivering a lens that’s never really been on it before.
Shadow and Act recently spoke with Samuel and the cast, including stars Regina King and Idris Elba who play Rufus Buck and Trudy Smith. Buck is a fictional character based on the real-life person, while Smith is one of the characters that doesn’t take their name from an actual person.
While the film is being referred to as a Western, King says it’s more like a smorgasbord.
King told us, “It’s interesting because we’re calling this film a Western, but I think that’s one of the things that was just so appealing to me about Jeymes’ vision when he shared it with me, is that it’s almost a gumbo of genres of sorts. It’s got everything, and everything in the best way, and the way he uses music to tell a story was just fantastic. It was just so black and I’m down for anything that’s so Black.”
Meanwhile, Elba emphasized the point of working with the talented cast and crew and how it was different from typical projects.
“Cast members and directors, we all make a family during a film. It’s typical,” he explained. “We make a family bond and we get on with each other and everything. But this particular film I think surpasses that. I really do truly feel like I made strong bonds with the cast and crew in ways that I wouldn’t have ordinarily. I’ve made a bond with someone I’ve known 15 years that has deepened because of this film and how and what we went through in order to make it.”
He also spoke about what it meant to bring mostly untold history to the screen.
“It was not only quite enriching spiritually, but we also had this sense of accomplishment when we finished the film, because of the trials that we had gone through,” he continued. “Now that the film has been released to an audience and the feedback is in, for me, it’s yet another level of accomplishment. Especially when you take the educative component, like, ‘Oh, y’all didn’t know about us? You didn’t know about the Black Westerns? You didn’t know about Black cowboys?’ That feels really, really powerful, especially now. It really does feel powerful. We’ve been banging on the door like, ‘Yo, y’all need to let us in, let us tell our stories.’ And here’s a shining example of that.”
The Harder They Fall is in select theaters now and drops on Netflix on Nov. 3.
Watch the full interview below: