The Harder They Fall, a new western starring Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors and Zazie Beetz, is to be the opening film for the 2021 edition of the BFI London film festival, it has been announced.
Directed and co-written by Jeymes Samuel (AKA the Bullitts), The Harder They Fall is described by the festival as a “righteously new school western”, and features Majors as an outlaw who assembles a gang to take revenge on his enemy, played by Elba, who has recently been released from prison.
Samuel, who was born in London and has had a string of cinema-influenced releases under the Bullitts name, said: “Growing up in the UK, 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 lineup.”
Festival director Tricia Tuttle added: “This is brutal and funny genre film-making … It’s rare for a debut film-maker to pull off something this ambitious and accomplished in their first feature.”
Produced by Jay-Z and regular Tarantino collaborator Lawrence Bender, among others, The Harder They Fall has no connection with the 1956 boxing noir of the same title. The film will receive its world premiere at the 65th festival, which is expected to mix in-person events and nationwide screenings with virtual programmes on the BFI Player.
The London film festival starts on 6 October and continues until 17 October.