Hot off his villainous turn in Hobbs and Shaw, Idris Elba has signed on for the indie movie Concrete Cowboys alongside rising stars Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things) and Jharrel Jerome, the latter of whom is currently up for an Emmy for his devastating turn in When They See Us.
Ricky Staub is directing from a script he co-wrote with Dan Walser, and production is already under way. According to Deadline, McLaughlin will play a teen who’s taken to live with his estranged father (Elba) in North Philadelphia, where he discovers the city’s vibrant urban cowboy subculture, which flourishes despite the surrounding poverty, violence, and encroachment of gentrification.
Lorraine Toussaint (The Village) and Byron Bowers (The Chi) will co-star in the film, which is inspired by Greg Neri‘s novel Ghetto Cowboy as well as the real-life Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club — an institution that has existed in Philadelphia for more than 100 years, providing a safe haven for that community.
Tucker Tooley Entertainment is financing the film and producing alongside Lee Daniels Entertainment and Elba’s Green Door Pictures. Tooley, Daniels and Elba will produce with Jeff Waxman, Jennifer Madeloff and Walser. Neri will serve as an executive producer along with Greg Renker, Jason Barhydt, Sam Mercer, Tegan Jones, and Staci Hagenbaugh.
Concrete Cowboys will serve as Staub’s feature directorial debut, an opportunity he earned with his short film The Cage, a story of survival in the streets of Philadelphia. The film also offers McLaughlin a juicy lead role after his ensemble work on Stranger Things, and a small role in Steven Soderbergh‘s Netflix drama High Flying Bird.
Jerome broke out in Barry Jenkins‘ Oscar-winning drama Moonlight and has since gone on to enjoy a series regular role on Mr. Mercedes. He’ll soon be seen in the Sundance drama Selah and The Spades, which was recently acquired by Amazon.
Elba and McLaughlin are both represented by WME, while Jerome is repped by UTA.