I cannot speak for anyone else, but I love the uptick of Western and/or cowboy entertainment centering Black people. It’s beyond time to look at cowboy and “wild west” history and culture through a different lens. We got this with Concrete Cowboy and there’s more content with real-life historical figures in The Harder They Fall. The film, premiering on Netflix on November 3, uses a star-studded cast to tell a gunslinging revenge story through a Black perspective. An awesome teaser hit earlier this year but this full trailer is truly a gift. Please, insert this movie in my veins immediately.
Rising star and Lovecraft Country alum Jonathan Majors is Nat Love, an outlaw who finds out that his arch-nemesis Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) is out of prison. Love gets a gang of the best in the Old West together to take Rufus down for good. And whoa do we get quite the crew, including Stagecoach Mary (Zazie Beetz), Bill Pickett (Edi Gathegi), and Jim Beckwourth (R.J. Cyler). Oh, and we cannot forget THE Delroy Lindo as Bass Reeves! It’s worth noting that these people were real-life cowboys and famous Black heroes from this time period.
Yes, it is thrilling to see their stories finally being told, even if in a dramatized fashion. However, I must admit that it does give me pause to see Beetz as Stagecoach Mary. She’s a good actress whom we’ve seen in Atlanta and Deadpool 2; however, casting her as Stagecoach Mary, who was darker skinned and a full-figured woman is… a choice considering there are actresses who would fit the aesthetic bill better. The optics become worse when you consider that she’s the love interest in this film. It’s a casting decision that people are discussing on Twitter after getting full breakdowns of the real-life people who inspired this epic story. But the topic of casting and colorism is an entirely different post.
Love may have his lineup but Buck’s clique is stout too. There’s “Treacherous” Trudy Smith (Regina King) and Cherokee Bill (LaKeith Stanfield) bringing the fire as they go head to head. The Harder They Fall trailer has everything a Western fan could desire from epic gunfights to terse drama to great one-liners. It looks like Jeymes Samuel, who directed, co-wrote, and co-produced the film, and his fellow writer Boaz Yakin might have a modern Western classic on their hands.