With the Black Lives Matter Movement driving for change to end police brutality in the United States and around the world, Idris Elba opened up about the importance of playing the father of a young Black teen growing up in America in the film “Concrete Cowboy”.
The movie had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2020 and Elba joined filmmaker Ricky Staub, producer Lee Daniels and cast for a virtual press conference to talk about the making of this film.
Filmed over a year before this “pinnacle of awareness” with BLM, Elba told ET Canada (at the 24-minute mark above): “We made this movie 15 months ago… but even then, it was incredibly important to us as a group of filmmakers that we tell the story of the fork in the road that you can take as a young man in this country. And what happens on one end of the fork and what happens on the other end of the fork.”
The film “Concrete Cowboy” is a screen adaptation of Greg Neri’s novel, telling the story of a troubled teen stuck between a life of crime and his estranged father’s vibrant urban-cowboy subculture.
Elba, who plays a Philadelphia cowboy whose 15-year-old son arrives on his doorstep after he’s expelled from his Detroit school, said the filmmakers and cast just recently asked each other as a group, collectively, “‘Wow, how poignant is this film… to this moment right now?'”
He explained how he’s hopeful that after watching “Concrete Cowboy”, “as a result… people look back at their communities and respect the role that communities play on young men’s lives, young people’s lives. Because often times it takes a village, you know, and sometimes we might stray outside of our village only to come back to the comfort of our village because that’s where we’re safe.”
“So, it’s interesting right now, because… man we could not have predicted this,” the 48-year-old star added. “Ricky has been working on this film for four years, you know, America didn’t change overnight. These are issues that have been going on for a long time.”
He continued, “Even where I’m from in England, where there’s a huge knife crime problem… we watch a movie like this and we remind ourselves, ‘Hey actually, yeah, there are very important lessons to be learned from telling stories like this.'”
And Elba concluded by telling ET Canada about how important this story is to him: “So, it really resonated to me, I’m a father of two boys, and definitely… I can’t wait for my youngest to see this film.”
A source close to Elba confirms that he was referring to his godson when saying he is the father of “two boys.” The actor is married to Sabrina Dhowre and has an 18-year-old daughter, Isan, and son, Winston, 6, from previous relationships.
“Concrete Cowboy” is set for release on Netflix on April 2.