Regina King on the Verifiable Lessons of ‘The Harder They Fall’ and Her Other Black History-Laced Projects


The Harder They Fall, directed by Jeymes Samuel, has finally landed on Netflix. Starring Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, Delroy Lindo, Deon Cole, Zazie Beetz, the Jay-Z-produced film is a rare Black cast entry in the Western genre. That distinction is one of the main reasons Regina King told EBONY she had to be part of this film.

It was just a space that we don’t get to see ourselves in, one; and two, how often do we get the opportunity to have that big film with all of those people? You don’t hear that.

Usually for us if it’s something like that—and it’s been a long, long, long time—it’s usually a romantic comedy, but it’s never a genre like western, or action or any of that nature.

Prior to directing The Harder They Fall, Samuel had already earned notoriety in his native London as a singer-songwriter, music producer and filmmaker, going by The Bullitts. Back in 2013, Samuel won critical acclaim for his short film They Die By Dawn (which accompanied his first album, They Die By Dawn & Other Short Stories).

The short, which premiered at South By Southwest, starred heavy hitters—Michael K. Williams, Erykah Badu, Isaiah Washington, Jesse Williams and Rosario Dawson. A Black western as well, the film was set in the Black town of Langston, Oklahoma in 1890.

Even before she knew the full cast of Samuel’s first feature-length film beyond Idris Elba, King revealed that she was already sold.

When I met Jeymes and he broke down his vision, I just was so excited.It felt fresh. I played some of the music that he had already written to some of the scenes, and I just was like,

You know what? I’m going to take a ride with you.

(The music, which meshes contemporary rhythms like reggae and hip-hop, along with a few unexpected genres, is vibrant throughout the film and can be enjoyed on a soundtrack, for which Jay-Z has two collaborations, released last week.)

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