Filmed in New Mexico, 'The Harder They Fall' reimagines real-life Black characters of the Old West - Albuquerque Journal

Filmed in New Mexico, ‘The Harder They Fall’ reimagines real-life Black characters of the Old West

Jeymes Samuel, director, and Idris Elba as Rufus Buch on the set of “The Harder They Fall” in Santa Fe. (David Lee/Netflix)

Jeymes Samuel grew up a fan of Westerns.

But there was something amiss while watching them – an incomplete story.

The westerns Samuel, and the world, grew up on reflected a Hollywood not ready to embrace the truth of the Old West and how it was settled in the mid- 1800s.

When the institution of slavery was abolished and the formerly enslaved flocked West in search of a better life and a fresh start, many became cowboys and a third of them were Black.

“I loved Westerns so much growing up that, when they invented Google, I began to research all these great characters that we never got to learn about through movies,” says Samuel.

He became obsessed with the real-life characters of the Old West, Black men and women who risked their lives every day for their own dreams.

Being a storyteller, he gathered these real people – who all lived in different places in the West at different times throughout the 19th century – and weaved their essence and purpose into the screenplay for “The Harder They Fall.”

“‘The Harder They Fall’ will put something into our culture that has been missing forever, as most every character in this film is based on a character that really existed,” says Samuel of his vision. “I just assembled them like Black Gods and put them in one space at one time.”

The film is available on Netflix and was filmed in New Mexico.

In the Western, outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) discovers that his enemy, Rufus Buck (Idris Elba), escaped from prison, so he reunites his gang to track Rufus down and seek revenge.

According to the New Mexico Film Office, the production was based in Santa Fe and employed about 500 New Mexico crew members and 312 New Mexico vendors.

“We are immensely proud to have a Black-led production of this magnitude on the ground in New Mexico,” says Amber Dodson, New Mexico Film Office director. ” ‘The Harder They Fall’ is a production with a predominately Black cast and lead production team, which signals a move to embrace the call for diversity in America – something we value highly in New Mexico.”

The cast is rounded out by Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, LaKeith Stanfield, Danielle Deadwyler, Edi Gathegi, RJ Cyler and Regina King.


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