After his unceremonious death in Avengers: Infinity War, Idris Elba is moving from the realm of Asgard to the streets of Philadelphia in his latest film, Concrete Cowboy. The neo-western is directed by Ricky Straub in his feature film debut, with Elba also serving as producer. After its premiere at TIFF in September 2020, Netflix picked up the international rights to Concrete Cowboy and just announced the release date for next month, along with a new poster that highlights how well Elba is able to pull off a cowboy hat.
The poster features a beautiful illustration of Elba and co-star Caleb McLaughlin, with the tagline stating “You Are Who You Ride With.” Showcasing a blend of apartment buildings, colorful greenery and cowboy hats abound, Concrete Cowboy promises to be an interesting twist on Western movie tropes, as Straub changes the narrative in order to spotlight rarely seen black cowboys. This might be just the film to usher some serotonin for the springtime after a particularly harrowing winter in quarantine.
Based on the 2009 novel Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri, the film is about a 15-year-old boy, Cole, (McLaughlin) from Detroit who is sent to live with his estranged father (Elba) in Philadelphia, where he learns about local urban cowboys and its neighborhood legacy. Set against a background of growing gentrification, Cole must contend between his interest and respect for his father’s community, and his reemerging friendship with a troubled cousin. Emmy Award-winner Jharrel Jerome, Lorraine Toussaint, Byron Bowers, and Clifford “Method Man” Smith also star.
The book and film are inspired by the real-life cowboys of the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club, a non-profit dedicated to inner-city horsemanship in North Philadelphia. The club is over 100 years old and serves as a rich local tradition for local horsemen to teach neighborhood kids how to maintain and care for horses. Concrete Cowboy helps to bring this incredible true story to life, upending the tired and formulaic cowboy story in the process. Hopefully, Netflix will release a new trailer shortly to help us get our Elba fix in the meantime.
Concrete Cowboy will debut on Netflix on April 2. See the poster below.