Jonathan Majors and Zazie Beetz take a calculated step into the Old West with their new film The Harder They Fall.
Directed by Jeymes Samuel, the film follows Majors as real-life cowboy Nat Love, who, in a fictionalized story, reassembles his former gang to seek revenge against the man who murdered his parents. Majors tells ABC Audio that to authentically take on the role of Love he had to “surrender” to the character.
“I was reminded and then…[it] was concretized that…the quiet surrender to the world, to the character is what’s going to save you,” he says. “If I allowed myself to think about riding the horse like that, I’d probably go, ‘Yeah… I could do it.’ But that’d be a lot of ego…But if I go, ‘Let me surrender to Nat’…I know Nat can do it.”
That surrender, Majors says, was not only something he enjoyed, it was something that invigorated him.
“I was addicted to it,” he admits, before sharing how he channeled Love on set. “‘OK, so what are we gonna do now, Nat?’ You know, ‘Let’s bang, bang, bang. Grrr, grr, grr…Let’s do it."”
Majors co-star Zazie Beetz agrees, explaining that she too “enjoyed” preparing for her role as Stagecoach Mary, Love’s romantic partner and fellow gunslinger.
“It was a little bit more…technical training and getting really comfortable with how to handle these antique weapons…and making it look like it’s second nature,” she says of using a shotgun.
Aside from guns, Beetz says that training to look “natural” on horses was also another unexpected challenge.
“We had to build relationships with our horses,” she says. “They had to learn to respect you and you respect them.”
The Harder They Fall is now available on Netflix.
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