Concrete Cowboys

Idris Elba can currently be seen taking on Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in the sci-fi boosted Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, and Caleb McLaughlin can be seen dealing with more monsters in the third season of Stranger Things on Netflix. But now the two are entering much different territory as a pair of urban horseman in the drama Concrete Cowboys, inspired by the novel Ghetto Cowboy and the real Fletcher Street Stables, an urban horsemanship community in Philadelphia.

Deadline has word on production starting on Concrete Cowboys, which also star Emmy nominee Jharrel Jerome from the acclaimed Netflix series When They See Us. This will mark the directorial debut of Ricky Staub, who also wrote the screenplay with Dan Walser. Though Staub has never directed a feature, he did garner some attention for being at the helm of a short film called The Cage, which tells the story of survival in the dangerous streets of Philadelphia, making him perfect for this kind of material.

If you’ve never heard of Greg Neri’s novel Ghetto Cowboy, here’s the official synopsis:

When Cole’s mom dumps him in the mean streets of Philadelphia to live with the dad he’s never met, the last thing he expects to see is a horse, let alone a stable full of them. He may not know much about cowboys, but what he knows for sure is that cowboys aren’t black, and they don’t live in the inner city. But in his dad’s ’hood, horses are a way of life, and soon Cole’s days of skipping school and getting in trouble in Detroit have been replaced by shoveling muck and trying not to get stomped on. At first, all Cole can think about is how to ditch these ghetto cowboys and get home. But when the City threatens to shut down the stables— and take away the horse Cole has come to think of as his own— he knows that it’s time to step up and fight back.

This is clearly a modern day western that mixes contemporary urban culture with the traditions of the Old West. And when you think about it, with all gang wars and gunfights, the Old West wasn’t all that different from some of the more crime-riddled areas of major cities we have today. Plus, it’s truly fascinating that there’s an actual community of urban horseback riders that have been working to keep the streets safer for over 100 years. The premise almost has an old school Disney flare to it, like a movie we would have seen in the 1990s.

Idris Elba was recently spotted working with a horse trainer on the streets of Philadelphia, so he won’t be letting some other cowboy stand-in for him (unless there’s some kind of dangerous stunt). Meanwhile, this could prove to be a big break into the big screen for Caleb McLaughlin, who wasn’t given a whole lot to do on the most recent season of Stranger Things.

Concrete Cowboys is being produced Lee Daniels Entertainment with Tucker Tooley Entertainment, as well as Idris Elba’s Green Door Pictures and Waxylu Films. The movie doesn’t have a distributor yet, so we don’t have a release date set, but with this cast on board, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

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