Regina King and Idris Elba talk shooting during COVID, accents and history in ‘The Harder They Fall’

The two opened up about what it was like making the Netflix western that has generated rave reviews.

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Netflix’s highly anticipated western The Harder They Fall has gotten rave reviews since it dropped earlier this month. theGrio sat down with stars Regina King and Idris Elba to talk about how they prepared for their roles, their friendship and what it was like shooting the film during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As TheGrio previously reported, The Harder They Fall is one of the biggest films of the year. Boasting a star-studded cast including Jonathan Majors, LaKeith Stanfield, Delroy Lindo and Zazie Beetz, and a killer soundtrack, the film fused the western film genre with an all-Black ensemble. Filming, however, was not without its challenges, specifically due to the uncertainty of a pandemic.

"The Harder They Fall" World Premiere - 65th BFI London Film Festival
Regina King and Idris Elba attend “The Harder They Fall” world premiere on October 06, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI)

King, who stars in the film as Trudy Smith, told theGrio, “I think it’s just really important to put it into perspective that we were shooting this during a time where this thing that has no face was tearing the world apart and still is in some regards.”

The “thing” she is referring to, of course, is COVID-19, which has impacted almost every industry, including Hollywood.

“Because of that, because we’re here right now with a finished product that we all are very proud of in that bubble, it brought us closer together,” she added. “Because we didn’t have some of those things that you normally have in between takes, in between moments when you’re not filming during a pandemic that you lean on.”

She explains that they couldn’t go back to their trailers as frequently or venture off anywhere but calls it “one of the greatest blessings” the cast could have had. “We feel like better people,” she shared.

"The Harder They Fall" Press Conference - 65th BFI London Film Festival
Regina King and Idris Elba at the “The Harder They Fall” photocall at The Mayfair Hotel on Oct. 6, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI)

The accents both King and Elba had to work on for the project were also a challenge. Elba explained that due to his natural British dialect, accents are almost always a hurdle for him.

“They’re all challenging, you know. I almost have anxiety about accents now because people know how I sound,” he shared. “When I started off in America, at least people didn’t know how I sounded, so I could get away with a lot more. But in this case…this film is about a transient community.”

He said that because of the nature and lifestyle of Black cowboys at that time in history, the accents are supposed to be hard to pin down in the film.

“You know, when you talk about the West, you know, you say, OK, well, where in the West do all these Black people come from?” Elba said. “And the truth historically is that these towns became transient stumps for many different African-Americans from all over the country, so the accents could be placed anywhere within that.”

The Harder They Fall is now streaming on Netflix.

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