The Netflix Western “The Harder They Fall” is an exceptional accomplishment – a western that in some ways feels very traditional (it’s a story of revenge, with characters taken from actual history) while simultaneously feeling downright revolutionary (thanks mostly to its all-Black cast, use of nontraditional music, and the exuberant creativity of co-writer/director Jeymes Samuel).
Part of what makes the movie so compelling, and what keeps it from ever being a straight homage, is the unbelievable cast that includes (deep breath) Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, and LaKeith Stanfield. Now, thanks to this exclusive video, you can hear from many of the actors (including Majors, Elba, and King), along with director Samuels, about how “The Harder They Fall” fell together.
In the roundtable, Samuel admits to have been noodling around with the idea for the past 15 years, and discussing it openly with star Idris Elba. (They worked on a musical project together called The Bullitts.) “This film was born out of my love of cinema and the Old West,” Samuel said. Westerns were always my favorite genre. I was always fascinated with people of color and women in the old west who weren’t seen as subservient.” While he didn’t know specifics, he could “see the movie and all of these plot points.”
Elba admits to not knowing exactly where Samuel was going with “The Harder They Fall.” But he still understood that he should go along for the ride. “Jeymes had already world-built this whole environment,” Elba said. “It’s magic.”
King didn’t hold back from leveling praise at Samuel. “If anyone wondered how he got this cast together, they don’t now,” King enthused. “You truly are a visionary and we never had to wonder where we should or where we should go because it’s all there and you always have given it to us vividly.”
Majors, who starred in the genre-bending “Lovecraft Country” (and recently joined the MCU as Kang the Conqueror), knows about upending expectation, and appreciated the radical nature of “The Harder They Fall” – both in its content and in terms of putting it together. “It’s an all-Black cast in a genre where we have completely been kept out. But also we did it in the middle of a pandemic,” Majors said. “We worked really, really hard to get it here.” That they did.
Watch the whole video above and be sure to check out “The Harder They Fall” on Netflix. You’ll fall hard.
For the record: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Jeymes Samuel’s name. We regret the error.