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How Idris Elba And Jonathan Majors Prepared To Deliver The Harder They Fall’s Twist Ending

Idris Elba and Jonathan Majors are both extremely talented actors. They play rivals in their latest film, The Harder They Fall, and their characters have a big showdown at the end of the Western. I’m not going to spoil the ending in this piece because you need to experience it for yourself, but I will say that you’ll be blown away by the ability of each of these men to convey so much with only their eyes. Elba and Majors were gracious enough to share how they prepared for the twist-ending scene.

For the majority of The Harder They Fall, Jonathan Majors and Idris Elba are not on screen together. Since their characters are at odds, this serves to build anticipation. So when they do come face-to-face, the audience is not only filled with excitement and suspense but also overwhelmed by the combined talent (which truly happens all through the film because this cast is stacked). I had the great pleasure of speaking with Mr. Majors and Mr. Elba on behalf of CinemaBlend, and Jonathan Majors shared the following of preparing for this explosive scene:

What you're describing is essentially the process, and the machinations that happened in both Nat’s body and mind in that moment, right? It's a huge conversation going on between the mind, his heart and his body in that moment and how one prepares for that, how I prepared for that was, it was really all about Idris. It was really all about Rufus Buck, and listening, and to have a great deal of restraint to continue to listen because that's how I was going to tell my part of the story. It was only what he could give me in that moment that would allow me to respond truthfully, otherwise, it's pre-baked. So the great deal of trust in Idris, as Rufus Buck, and a great deal of restraint on my end, artistically, to stay in it and not jump to conclusions in any way.

The Harder They Fall follows outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) as he discovers that his enemy Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) is being released from prison. Nat rounds up his gang to track Rufus down and seek revenge. The audience lives in Nat’s perspective for the majority of the film, is clear on why he wants revenge and is on board with him getting it. It would’ve been easy for the filmmakers to go full speed ahead with that narrative, but writer/director Jeymes Samuel added the additional layer of giving Rufus Black a motive and explanation as well, and not letting the audience in on that until the end. As Jonathan Majors describes above, his character’s greatest difficulty in the scene was to restrain himself from what he set out to do and really stop and listen.

Idris Elba elaborated on the thought behind what is revealed about his character in this scene and how he prepared for it. Here’s what he shared:

Part of the trick of playing someone that's a bad guy is trying to make that character believable, relatable and to some degree likable. That's the trick, and I thought that knowing what we know about the character, or you and I know now after seeing the film, it was a conversation about how we subvert the bad guy stuff. So we don't have to play… He's bad, he's been incarcerated for a long time and has a real vengeance in his heart, but we don't know why. And so towards the end, when you realize what's been going on, it's all there in the words. I don't take the credit for that. It was in the writing, a hundred percent. and then obviously, working with Jeymes and Jonathan, we as brothers just tore that apart. And we revealed ourselves not only as actors, but as characters within that scene.

Always the gentlemen, Idris Elba gives credit where credit is due, and in this case that is to writer and director of The Harder They Fall, Jeymes Samuel. Beyond pulling together a brilliant cast and filming a Black Western, Samuel wrote a gripping and emotional story with perfectly time comedic moments along the way. There are so many surprises in this script, I was curious if the twist ending was something he’d always had in mind or if it came to him along the way. His answer:

I always had that. That was, for me, the end of the movie is almost like the point of the whole journey, the point of the whole story. I always had that in mind, just going in, before I started writing the script, I knew how it would end. That's probably with all the things that I create. I always kind of know the end point even sometimes before I know the start point. And that was the motivation for selling this particular story.

Well, there you have it. The Harder They Fall is an absolute must-see. It fires on all cylinders and has some of the best writing delivered by actors operating at the top of their game. The trailer is only a taste of the action and comedy. The Harder They Fall is now playing in theaters and begins streaming on Netflix on November 3. Be sure to check out all of the Netflix new releases streaming this November

Samantha LaBat

Obsessed with Hamilton and most things Disney. Gets too attached to TV show characters. Loves a good thriller, but will only tolerate so much blood.