The world premiere of Netflix’s new school western “The Harder They Fall” will open the 65th British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival.
The film is directed by Londoner Jeymes Samuel, touted by Ted Sarandos as one of the streamer’s discoveries.
The film stars Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, LaKeith Stanfield, Danielle Deadwyler, Edi Gathegi, R.J. Cyler, Damon Wayans Jr. and Deon Cole with Regina King and Idris Elba.
Samuel is expected to attend along with key cast including Majors, Beetz, King and Elba. The screening will be at the festival’s gala venue – the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, and there will be simultaneous preview screenings across the U.K. The film will debut on Netflix on Nov. 3 following a theatrical release in U.K. cinemas.
The film follows outlaw Nat Love (Majors) who discovers that his enemy Rufus Buck (Elba) is being released from prison and rounds up his gang to track Rufus down and seek revenge.
Written by Samuel and Boaz Yakin produced by Shawn Carter, James Lassiter, Lawrence Bender and Samuel, the film features an original soundtrack album produced by Samuel and executive produced by Carter.
Samuel said: “Growing up in the U.K., the festival has always been the highlight of my year and I couldn’t have imagined anything better than to have my debut film included in this year’s line-up.”
“Jeymes Samuel has come out with both guns blazing with his lightning-paced, witty and phenomenally entertaining new western, ‘The Harder They Fall,’ said festival director Tricia Tuttle. “This is brutal and funny genre filmmaking, sometimes making you chuckle and gasp in the same breath, while each of its mega stars absolutely burns up the screen, working to a cleverly written script from Samuel and Boaz Yakin that reveals the tenderness even in the darkest villainous heart. It’s rare for a debut filmmaker to pull off something this ambitious and accomplished in their first feature and Samuel knowingly tips his hat to cinematic forbearers, but also delivers a film which is inventive and uniquely his own. It’s a total joy for us to open the Festival with the work of a filmmaker from London, and we’re so grateful to Jeymes, the producers and Netflix for trusting us with their world premiere.”
With the U.K. fully reopened, the 2021 edition of the festival, with regular sponsors American Express returning, will be an in-person event. The 2020 festival was a hybrid event because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival aims to bring back some of the most popular elements of the hybrid edition, with a selected program available at U.K.-wide cinema partners and a range of films from the program screening on streamer BFI Player, alongside the in-cinema premieres.
Infection rates have been plummeting in the U.K., raising hopes for the festival, which takes place Oct. 6-17. Daily cases are down to 21,691, compared to a daily average of 50,000 just weeks ago. Daily deaths are at 138 and daily hospital admissions are 731, according to latest U.K. government figures.
88.7% of the U.K. population have received their first doses of vaccines while 73% are fully vaccinated.