Watchmen - Regina King

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Netflix was in production on The Harder They Fall, a new western revenge thriller starring Idris Elba and Jonathan Majors. But with Hollywood slowly figuring out how to safety get back to work, the movie is looking to get back in front of cameras soon, and they have an outstanding roster of new cast members that have just been announced.

Regina King (Watchmen), Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), and Zazie Beetz (Joker) are all joining the cast of the film, and they’re not the only ones.

The Hollywood Reporter has news on the latest additions to the Harder They Fall cast. On top of the aforementioned four stars, the cast is also adding Danielle Deadwyler (Atlanta), Edi Gathegi (X-Men: First Class), RJ Cyler (Power Rangers). With these seven total new cast members, this cast is shaping up to be quite the ensemble, and they’re all currently learning the ropes of gunslinging and horseback riding before heading off to the set in New Mexico. Unfortunately, Cynthia Erivo was meant to be part of the cast, but the pandemic delay made it so that she could no longer be involved.

The story follows outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan Majors), who discovers that the man who killed his parents 20 years before is being released from prison. To retaliate, he rounds up his old gang to track him down and take his revenge. The killer in question is being played by Idris Elba, taking another villainous role after he faced off against Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson in Hobbs and Shaw.

The Harder They Fall will mark the directorial debut of Jeymes Samuel, the singer-songwriter from The Bullitts. Adding to the power of this all-Black western will be Grammy winner Jay-Z, who is producing original music for the movie with Samuel, not to mention producing the movie along with James Lassiter and Lawrence Bender. As for the script, Samuel also co-wrote it with Boaz Yakin, writer of The Punisher and director of Remember the Titans.

Westerns with predominantly Black casts have been few and far between. You’d think that’s because the Black population was oppressed during the time of the Wild West, but historians estimate that one in four cowboys were Black, leaving plenty of room for their stories. This feels like a concerted effort by Netflix to give Black filmmakers a larger playing field in Hollywood as diversity finally starts to spread. Since there haven’t been a lot of Black-centric westerns, this is bound to feel refreshing for the genre that often treads familiar territory.

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