Jonathan Majors says ‘The Harder They Fall’ pays homage to western genre, while ‘building something new’

Majors is the star of the Netflix western starring Regina King and Idris Elba is the featured guest on the latest 'Acting Up' podcast

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On the latest episode of Acting Up, Jonathan Majors sits down with theGrio’s Cortney Wills to discuss his new film The Harder They Fall and more.

Majors is one of the brightest new stars in Hollywood. From his star-turn in The Last Black Man in San Francisco, to his acclaimed performance in Lovecraft Country, Majors is truly one of the most in-demand actors in the industry. In his latest project, The Harder They Fall, Majors finds himself in a genre not often occupied by Black actors: the western.

Los Angeles Premiere Of "The Harder They Fall"
\ Jonathan Majors attends the Los Angeles premiere of “The Harder They Fall” at Shrine Auditorium on Oct. 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

His first film, 2017’s Hostiles, also happened to also be a western. Majors shared that he grew up watching the genre with his family.

“My grandparents, they had the western channel, and we watched a lot,” he shared. Having grown up in a rural area, he explained, “the spirituality of the genre I was very much attracted to, and I guess I witnessed it a lot.”

While Majors didn’t have many examples of Black actors to draw from, they say it had no effect on his own process when developing the role.

“I try to stay away from something that’s been made before,” he explained. Rather than pulling from other performances, he likens the project to paying “homage to the genre” that he loves. “We were building something new, and Nat Love is something new,” he continued.

"The Harder They Fall" Press Conference - 65th BFI London Film Festival
Jonathan Majors, Regina King and Idris Elba attend “The Harder They Fall” photocall during the 65th BFI London Film Festival at The Mayfair Hotel on October 06, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI)

“If I ride a horse, these fellas aren’t built like Nat Love is built,” he explained. “These fellas aren’t ex-slaves. We’re different people.” Majors continues to explain that it was important for him to “use our history,” by doing his research into Black American life during that time period.

“I had to enter into our culture, into our books and our history, because it’s not foreign to us. It’s actually very, very, very true…it’s more true than how we’ve been depicted in the western genre.”

The full episode of Acting Up with Jonathan Majors is out now.

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