Idris Elba has a new movie coming to Netflix where he plays a modern-day cowboy in the city. While you may imagine cowboys living in the west, covered in dust, and surrounded by cows, Concrete Cowboy provides a more modern take. This father-son drama was shown at film festivals in 2020 to rave reviews. Now, we’re about to finally get our first peek at Elba in a cowboy hat. Check out the trailer below.
North Philadelphia is maybe not where you’d expect to see a man wearing a cowboy hat and riding a horse. However, if you’d walked those neighborhoods, you’d know it was actually not that far off. This new movie stars Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin, one of the actors from Stranger Things. The story was inspired by the real-life Black urban horsemanship community at the Fletcher Street Stables. The urban stables are a place for the group of inner-city cowboys to rehabilitate horses. This community inspired G. Neri to write the novel Ghetto Cowboy. Both of these sources then inspired first-time feature-filmmaker Ricky Staub to co-write the Concrete Cowboy script with Dan Walser.
While the story takes inspiration from these sources, Concrete Cowboy is a tale all its own. This father-son drama sees 15 year old Cole, played by Caleb McLaughlin, expelled from his school in Detroit. He’s forced to come live with his father, played by Idris Elba. We follow the son as he learns to rehabilitate horses, becomes a part of the community, and grows closer with his estranged father. Meanwhile, the stables themselves are threatened by gentrification. This is inspired by a danger the real-life stables also face. Not everyone is a fan of a horse stable in the middle of the city.
Traditionally, western films have shown cowboys as almost exclusively white men. Historically, this has been untrue. Idris Elba spoke to Variety about this, saying, “For a long time, there’s been a real sort of mistelling of history around Black people and horses and cowboys.” He was excited about the possibility of telling a part of history that shows this, particularly something that’s happening at the moment. He felt this movie was an important part of changing that cultural understanding of how Black people have long held a relationship with horses and as cowboys.
Additionally, he said the movie felt important to himself and the director because of the current situation for the real-life Fletcher Street Stables. Idris Elba said the director told him, “I’m hoping that we made this movie and they keep the stables, based on the fact that people fall in love with the story and history and heritage of the stables.”
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Idris Elba on screen. While he played Walter on the television series In the Long Run, before that the last time we saw him was in 2019’s Cats. For a long time, any discussion around Elba surrounded him possibly playing the next James Bond. That may never happen, but fortunately, he has several projects coming out soon. Right now, we’re set to see him in Concrete Cowboy on Netflix April 2, 2021 and as Bloodsport in The Suicide Squad August 6, 2021.