Idris Elba on new film 'Concrete Cowboy': 'It's such a beautiful story'

April 1 (UPI) -- Idris Elba says his new film Concrete Cowboy tells a "beautiful story."

The 48-year-old actor discussed the upcoming Netflix movie during Thursday's episode of Today.


Concrete Cowboy is based on the Greg Neri novel Ghetto Cowboy. The story is inspired by the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club, a real-life community of Black horsemen in North Philadelphia.

The new film follows Cole (Caleb McLaughlin), a teenager who is sent to live with his estranged father, Harp (Elba), in Philadelphia, where he meets and learns about the Fletcher Street community.

On Today, Elba said he immediately signed on to the film after reading the script on a flight.

In actuality, the truth is that I was asked to be a producer on the film before being an actor. I read that script on a flight and as soon as I landed I said, 'We have to do this,'" the star said.

"It's such a beautiful story, there's so much common truth," he added. "Even though it's a story about stables and people we might now have known exist, I really felt touched by the story and signed on immediately."


Elba has two children, daughter Isan, 19, and son Winston, 6. He said he drew on stories from the real Fletcher Street community while making the film.

"If I'm really honest, the community itself gave me as much as experience in their storytelling, in their sharing who they are, giving me the history of the community," the actor said.

"Obviously as a father -- and my dad and I had a great relationship -- I have a good relationship with my kids, the aspect of my character and his estranged son, that wasn't me. So that wasn't something I could relate to in the same way, but speaking to so many members of the community, we really just pulled these stories together," he added.

Netflix shared a trailer for Concrete Cowboy in March.

"Torn between his growing respect for his father's community and his reemerging friendship with troubled cousin Smush (Jharrel Jerome), Cole begins to reprioritize his life as the stables themselves are threatened by encroaching gentrification," an official synopsis reads.

Concrete Cowboy co-stars Lorraine Toussaint, Byron Bowers and Clifford "Method Man" Smith. The film premieres Friday on Netflix.

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