There’s been a lot of buzz about writer and director Jeymes Samuel creating a Black Western and how Blacks have been left out of the Western genre for years. Samuel’s Netflix original film, The Harder They Fall, which features a star-studded cast led by Idris Elba, does something new and does it brilliantly. As one with a long and successful career in the industry, Elba has shared why he is encouraged about Black characters in cinema.
When it comes to diversity and representation in the film industry and the media, the conversation is often focused on what’s not being done, who’s being left out, what we need more of, etc. and I think it’s equally important to stop and acknowledge the work that has been done and the positive changes that are being made. I sat down with Idris Elba in support of The Harder They Fall, and he said that he’s an optimist and has seen positive changes through his career. In Mr. Elba’s own words:
So Idris Elba acknowledges both sides of the coin, that there have been positive changes and that there is more change to be done, but overall he is encouraged and chooses to focus on that, which is encouraging in itself. He mentions above people creating their own doors and paths, and Jeymes Samuel is a prime example of that in the way that he creates things. Featuring historically Black characters in the Western genre provides a nuance with cultural elements that elevate the story.
The Harder They Fall tells the story of outlaw Nat Love (played by Jonathan Majors) who discovers that his enemy Rufus Buck (played by Idris Elba) is being released from prison. Nat rounds up his gang including his former love Stagecoach Mary (played by Zazie Beetz), hot-tempered Bill Pickett (played by Edi Gathegi), and fast drawing Jim Beckwourth (played by R.J. Cyler) to track Rufus down and seek revenge. Rufus Buck has his own fearsome crew that includes “Treacherous” Trudy Smith (played by Regina King) and Cherokee Bill (played by LaKeith Stanfield). The film is now playing in theaters and streams exclusively on Netflix November 3.
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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.