It has all the gunfights, train robberies, saloons, and showdowns you would expect.
But Samuel's film also dusts off many of the traditional limitations of an old genre, reinventing it for today. Samuel, who did the soundtrack himself with many bold-name guests, including the film's co-producer Jay-Zmakes his feature film directing debut.
But as warmly as Samuel feels about the Western, some elements of the genre have always gnawed at him. For much of the Western's history, Black people seldom made it on screen, and when they did, they were usually subservient background characters. That isn't just inequitable, it's inaccurate.
Historians estimate that as many as one in four cowboys were Black. For decades, in a genre that more than another served as a portrait of America, Hollywood whitewashed the frontier.
No more 'Hi ho, Silver! When Tendo Nagenda, vice president of original film at Netflix, first read the script, only Elba was attached, but all of the song references were overlaid throughout. Nagenda met Samuel shortly after while visiting another film set in London.
So what his script did was expand the aperture. It felt like a familiar canvas from a different perspective.
Netflix has in recent years focused particularly on growing its own stable of franchises, and Samuel's crowded landscape of larger-than-life outlaws could be tapped for expansion. White characters appear only briefly, and largely for comic relief.
But much of the genre's iconography is white and male. Samuel is also proud of having women central and powerful figures in his film.
But every single woman in it is a whore. Samuels remembers finding another history while flipping through library books about the Old West as a year-old, amazed to learn how different the time was than how he had seen it depicted.
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Published: October 30, am Updated: October 30, am.