Quentin Tarantino has claimed in several interviews that Westerns, more than any other genre, reflect the “values and problems” of the era in which they were made. If that’s true, audiences are in for a vivid temperature check with “The Harder They Fall,” an upcoming neo-Western from Netflix.
The film was produced by Jay-Z, longtime Tarantino collaborator Lawrence Bender, and Will Smith’s business partner James Lassiter. Though Tarantino himself wasn’t involved, the trailer bears an unmistakable resemblance to his irreverent, hyper-stylized projects “Django Unchained” and “The Hateful Eight.” The plot concerns two rival outlaws and their respective gangs dueling for supremacy as one seeks revenge on the other for murdering his parents. The characters are all based on real-life figures from the Old West.
Here’s the official synopsis:
“When outlaw Nat Love discovers that his enemy Rufus Buck is being released from prison, he rounds up his gang to track Rufus down and seek revenge. Those riding with him in this assured, righteously new school Western include his former love Stagecoach Mary, his right and left-hand men — hot-tempered Bill Pickett and fast drawing Jim Beckwourth—and a surprising adversary-turned-ally. Rufus Buck has his own fearsome crew, including ‘Treacherous’ Trudy Smith and Cherokee Bill, and they are not a group that knows how to lose.”
The predominantly black ensemble cast includes Jonathan Majors as Nat Love, Idris Elba as Rufus Buck, and Zazie Beetz as Stagecoach Mary. Regina King and LaKeith Stanfield portray Buck’s ruthless associates Trudy Smith and Cherokee Bill, respectively. The late Delroy Lindo also appears as U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves.
This will be the feature debut of British director Jeymes Samuel (a.k.a., The Bullitts), who began his career as a music producer and solo artist. He also received producing credit and co-wrote the screenplay with veteran scribe Boaz Yakin.
“The Harder They Fall” hits select theaters on October 22 and arrives on Netflix beginning November 3. Check out the first clip below.