This past weekend, Concrete Cowboy strode onto Netflix. Premiering at last year's Virtual Toronto International Film Festival before it was picked up and distributed by the streaming service, the feature debut of co-writer/director Ricky Staub became a favorite among critics and audiences thanks to its clear vision and strong ensemble, including Caleb McLaughlin, Idris Elba, Clifford "Method Man" Smith, Jharrel Jermone, Lorraine Toussaint, Byron Bowers, and Liz Priestley, among a variety of newcomers.
In a cast filled with fresh and familiar faces alike, Ricky Staub found an impressive balance between unprofessional actors, up-and-coming talents, and established veterans alike. When it comes to the famous (and non-famous) actors involved in this picture, there's a good chance that you recognize a few of these performers. If you're wondering where you've seen the Concrete Cowboy cast before, we can help. Here's what the ensemble behind this Netflix movie worked on prior to this streaming title.
Caleb McLaughlin (Cole)
As Cole, a troubled, directionless teenager who bonds with his distant father by working at his stable, Caleb McLaughlin is the protagonist in Concrete Cowboy. Most notably, McLaughlin plays Lucas Sinclair on Netflix's Stranger Things. The former child actor is also known for playing Young Simba in Broadway's The Lion King. Also, McLaughlin had a prominent role in another Netflix original, Steven Soderbergh's High Flying Bird.
Additionally, on TV, Caleb McLaughlin can be seen in Shades of Blue, The New Edition Story, Law & Order: SVU, Forever, Unforgettable, and Blue Bloods. Also, as a voice actor, he can be heard in Final Space and Summer Camp Island. Furthermore, McLaughlin appeared in Sia's "Santa's Coming for Us" music video. Next, he's expected to return for the much-anticipated fourth season of Stranger Things, which is reportedly filming now.
Idris Elba (Harp)
In the role of Harp, Cole's distant father and the owner of Fletcher Street Stables who forges a relationship with his estranged son while also fighting to keep his fledgling business alive, Idris Elba played a pivotal paternal character in Concrete Cowboy. Most notably, Elba is known for playing Stringer Bell in HBO's The Wire, as well as the title character in BBC One's Luther. The actor received four Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe award for the latter performance. Additionally, Elba was nominated for his guest role in Showtime's The Big C. Furthermore, the actor created and starred in Sky One's In the Long Run and Netflix's Turn Up Charlie. Elba's other notable TV credits include The Office, Guerrilla (which he also produced), Dangerfield, and The Governor.
Outside of television, Idris Elba played the late South Africa president Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. He also starred in The Dark Tower, Bastille Day, No Good Deed (which he also produced), Takers, Obsessed, The Mountain Between Us, Daddy's Little Girls, and Netflix's Beasts of No Nation. Additionally, Elba can be seen in Star Trek Beyond, Pacific Rim, American Gangster, Prometheus, Molly's Game, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Cats, Hobbs & Shaw, RocknRolla, Buffalo Soldiers, and 28 Weeks Later. Furthermore, the hard-working actor plays Heimdall in the Thor movies, as well as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War, respectively. Also, as a voice actor, Elba can be heard in The Jungle Book (2016) and Finding Dory.
Outside of acting, Idris Elba made his directorial debut with Yardie. He's also a DJ under the moniker DJ Big Driis. Next, Elba stars in The Suicide Squad, The Harder They Fall, Three Thousand Years of Longing, and Beast. He'll also reprise his role as John Luther in an upcoming film continuation.
Jharrel Jerome (Smush)
Playing the part of Smush, Cole's childhood friend who isn't the best role model for our coming-of-age protagonist, Jharrel Jerome was a charismatic but challenging character in Concrete Cowboy. Most notably, Jerome provided a standout role in 2016's Best Picture winner, Moonlight. He's also an Emmy winner for his acclaimed performance in Netflix's When They See Us. Additionally, the actor played a main character in Audience's Mr. Mercedes. Jerome's other TV credits include Tales and Live in Front of a Studio Audience. His other film credits include All Rise and First Match.
Furthermore, Jharrel Jerome starred in short films like 2019's Robu and 2016's Her Coloring Book. The actor also contributed as a musician for the latter. Additionally, Jerome narrated another short film, 2016's Wheels. Away from acting, as previously noted, he doubles as a musical artist. Jerome released his first single, "For Real," ft. Kemba, last year. Also in 2020, he played a supporting role in Amazon Prime's Selah and the Spades. Next, the actor will be seen in the upcoming short film, Venture. He'll also appear in Netflix's Monster.
Byron Bowers (Rome)
As Rome, a local rider who races Harp during the festival, Bryon Bowers plays a fast-riding (and fast-talking) supporting character in Netflix's Concrete Cowboy. Currently, Bowers can be seen in Showtime's The Chi. His other TV credits include The Eric Andre Show, The Crossroad of History, Why? with Hannibal Buress, and Carrier. He also played Percy in Honey Boy and Roach Man in Kuso. Additionally, Bowers' other film credits include The 4th and Brianiacs in La La Land. Furthermore, the comedian did voice work for NBA 2K18. Away from acting, Bowers was a consulting producer on Ridiculousness. Next, he'll appear in Netflix's The Guilty and Steven Soderbergh's HBO Max movie, KIMI.
Lorraine Toussaint (Nessie)
In the role of Nessie, Harp's mindful, advice-giving neighbor, Lorraine Toussaint plays a wise supporting character in Netflix's Concrete Cowboy. Most notably, the actress is known for her performance as Rene Jackson in Lifetime's Any Day Now and her recurring role as Shambala Green in NBC's Law & Order. She was also a regular cast member on TNT's Saving Grace and NBC's Crossing Guard. Additionally, Toussaint played Yvonne "Vee" Parker, the main antagonist of Netflix's Orange Is the New Black Season 2. Her other TV credits include Forever, Rosewood, Into the Badlands, One Life to Live, Where I Live, Ugly Betty, Friday Night Lights, Body of Proof, The Fosters, The Good Fight, and The Village. Currently, she's a series regular on CBS's The Equalizer.
Outside of television, Lorraine Toussaint was praised for her standout performance in Middle of Nowhere. She also appeared in Breaking In, Hudson Hawk, Dangerous Minds, Selma, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, The Night Before, Ask Me Anything, Fast Color, Point of No Return, Girls Trip, and The Soloist. The actress also produced and provided the voice of God in 2018's short film, Anne Frank Meets God. Recently, Toussaint appeared in The Glorias and Showtime's Your Honor. Also, the actress was heard in Big City Greens and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Next, Toussaint will be seen in Silent Retreat and heard in Netflix's The Magician's Elephant.
Clifford “Method Man” Smith (Leroy)
Playing the part of Leroy, a local police officer who tries to warn Harp and his crew about the dangerous conditions of his unstable stable, Clifford Smith, better known by his stage name "Method Man," plays an authoritative character in Concrete Cowboy. Most notably, the Grammy-winning actor/musician is a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. He's also one half of the musical duo, Method Man & Redman. The musicians starred in the short-lived Fox sitcom of the same name, as well as 2001's How High. The actor's other TV credits include Oz, The Wire, CSI, Blue Bloods, The Deuce, The Last O.G., Rebel, The Breaks, and Netflix's Teenage Bounty Hunters. Currently, Method Man is a series regular on Starz's Power Book II: Ghost. Additionally, the actor appears in Epix's Godfather of Harlem. Outside of acting, the musician co-hosted TBS's Drop the Mic.
Outside of television, Clifford "Method Man" Smith can be seen in Garden State, Scary Movie 3, The Wackness, The Sitter, Red Tails, The Cobbler, Keanu, Paterson, Trainwreck, Peppermint, Shaft (2019), Soul Plane, My Baby's Daddy, Brown Sugar, Belly, Love Beats Rhymes, Future World, Where's the Money, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, and Netflix's Vampires vs. the Bronx, among other titles. Additionally, Method Man can be heard in video games like Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style, Def Jam Vendetta, Def Jam: Fight for NY, and Def Jam: Icon. Also, as a voice actor, he can be heard in Chozen and Volcano High. Next, Method Man will be seen in This is the Night and Last Looks.
As Esha, Harp's employee who forms an intense bond with Cole, Ivannah-Mercedes plays a meaningful supporting character in the latter half of Netflix's Concrete Cowboy. And it was a good first impression. The actress made her debut in this streaming title.
Liz Priestley (Amahle)
In the role of Amahle, Cole's mother, Liz Priestley plays a key character who bookends Concrete Cowboy. Most notably, Priestley played a minor role in Netflix's Jessica Jones. The actress also appeared in the 2018 short film, Faithful.
Concrete Cowboy is streaming on Netflix. Watch it here (opens in new tab).
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Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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