Who are the city cowboys to whom the latest Netflix western starring Idris Elba is dedicated

Who are the city cowboys to whom the latest Netflix western starring Idris Elba is dedicated

Concrete Cowboy, by newcomer Ricky Staub, is a father-son drama set in the "Philadelphia metropolitan barn," where a real community of black cowboys rides, cares for animals, lives. Also starring in the cast is the young Stranger Things promise Caleb McLaughlin

Concrete Cowboy starts in the most absurd way a similar story could begin: by looking out the window. As imaginative as it may seem, like all the most incredible ideas it is actually firmly based on true facts. It was thus that director Ricky Staub saw an African American cowboy wandering around on horseback, calmly, for a walk, in the middle of the city next to a buggy from which rap music was coming out. And if anyone was just amazed, he smelled a story and started investigating.

He discovered the Fletcher Street stables, a non-profit organization dedicated to breeding for at least 100 years. urban. There he talked for days and days with everyone involved, men and women who teach animal care, went to their barbecues, learned to mount himself and even helped clean the stables - whatever to get into the community. and see if there was room for a film about city cowboys, holders of a culture that has always been associated with whites. But the real idea came only when Ricky Staub met Greg Neri's novel Ghetto cowboy, set in that "city barn" in Philadelphia. The book had the story; he - newcomer - had the film in mind (landscapes with cowboys riding at sunset in the town and not in the prairies) and the desire to fit into an ancient cinematic tradition with something strange, modern and (incredible to say) true .

So much was Staub attached to the possibility of making a hard and pure film, that his first idea, the original one, was to use real urban cowboys, therefore non-professionals, as actors. It is not difficult to believe that with these premises he struggled to find someone to finance the project. At least until Lee Daniels, producer and director of Precious and an African American born and raised in Philadelphia right next to those stables, saw potential in what is ultimately an African American story. With him the screenplay begins to turn, passes from hand to hand, from actor to actor, and the idea of ​​letting real cowboys interpret it is no longer so sensible. The point is that Staub had as a reference The rider, the American film that revealed to the world Chloé Zhao (the director nominated this year for several Oscars for Nomadland and chosen by Marvel for The Eternals), also modern with horses, but shot precisely with real people. Everything finally collapsed when Idris Elba (Luther) arrived, enthusiastic about the script and eager to play one of the two protagonists, his father. The reason for his enthusiasm is simple.

“There are not enough different and original stories about fatherhood, forget it when it comes to African Americans, the perspective is always the same. This film is an opportunity to change it ": Idris Elba's comment says it all about the opportunity he saw, first of all for himself, then for Concrete Cowboy. Also because, if in America the tradition of cowboys and the story of men on horseback is crucial and has always been important, there is almost no trace of African American characters on horseback. Elba was so determined that he took Benadril throughout the shoot as he was allergic to animal hair.

Next to him on the scene is Caleb McLaughlin - who became famous for being one of the protagonists of Stranger Things. -, equally eager to make the leap from television to the big screen, from the roles of a child to that of a boy (and it is not that cinema is bursting with parts for young African American men, not even the American one). The plot is a classic: Cole (McLaughlin), raised only by his mother, is sent to live with his father (precisely an urban cowboy) after being kicked out of school. There he finds the discipline and values ​​that no one was able to teach him before.

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