The Harder They Fall Movie Represents the Real Old West, Says Director

Co-writer/director Jeymes Samuel opens up about how The Harder They Fall is both a true representation of the Old West and the new West.

Co-writer/director Jeymes Samuel opens up about how The Harder They Fall is both a true representation of the Old West and the new West. The action-thriller features an ensemble cast including Idris Elba as Rufus Buck, Jonathan Majors as Nat Love, Zazie Beetz as Stagecoach Mary, Lakeith Stanfield as Cherokee Bill, Delroy Lindo as Bass Reeves, Regina King as Trudy Smith, Edi Gathegi as Bill Pickett and RJ Cyler as Jim Beckworth. The Harder They Fall marks Samuel’s directorial debut, filming on a script penned by him and Remember the Titans helmer Boaz Yakin.

The Harder They Fall centers on Nat Love, a former slave-turned-cowboy, as he tracks dow the members of his former gang to regroup and hunt down outlaw Rufus Buck to get revenge for the murder of his parents after Buck is sprung from prison by his gang. Development on the project kicked off in 2019 with Majors becoming the first cast member to sign on for Samuel’s debut, while production would be delayed from March 2020 to September the same year. This delay saw the exits of Cynthia Erivo, Wesley Snipes and Sterling K. Brown due to scheduling conflicts that arose from the push in filming.

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Ahead of the film’s premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, Samuel spoke with Empire to discuss The Harder They Fall. The co-writer/director spoke about his goals to shift the classic genre’s focus to an “under-represented perspective” of Black cowboys and lethal frontier women, who he states were “a staple of the Wild West.” See what Samuel said below:

“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.”

Idris Elba The Harder They Fall

Samuel’s goal for The Harder They Fall to offer a better spotlight for Black cowboys in the Western genre is both an admirable and necessary one. Though the genre has seen some depictions throughout the years, they have generally been in supporting roles or in humorous efforts, some of the most notable examples being Cleavon Little’s Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles and Will Smith’s James T. West in Wild Wild West. While trailers for The Harder They Fall certainly have indicated the film isn’t lacking in a sense of humor, they’ve also shown a better range of Black characters than so often put to film in the Western genre.

In his directorial debut, Samuel is clearly pulling out all the stops for The Harder They Fall. The footage seen thus far has promised plenty of explosive action and stylish direction on top of its well-rounded cast of characters, not to mention the rousing soundtrack compiled with producer Jay-Z. Only time will tell how the film fares overall when The Harder They Fall hits select theaters on October 22 followed by Netflix on November 3.

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Source: Empire

  • The Harder They Fall (2021)Release date: Oct 22, 2021

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