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October 27, 2020

'Concrete Cowboy,' filmed in Philly, will be released on Netflix

Star Idris Elba hopes the movie will tell about a 'buried' part of history

"Concrete Cowboy," the much-anticipated drama about Philadelphia's Black urban horseback riders, has found a home for release on Netflix.

After making its festival debut in Toronto this fall, the film starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin reportedly will premiere on Netflix some time in 2021, according to Variety. It had been slated for theatrical release this year, but was sidetracked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Filmed in Philadelphia in 2019, the movie centers on Harp, a North Philly father who mentors his 15-year-old son, Cole, in the urban pastime of horseback riding at Fletcher Street Stables. The story is based on Greg Neri's 2011 novel, "Ghetto Cowboys," and is director Ricky Staub's feature length debut.

"For a long time, there's been a real sort of mistelling of history around Black people and horses and cowboys and whatnot," Elba told Variety during the Toronto International Film Festival. "It feels really apt to be able to tell a part history that's been definitely buried, and in the case of 'Concrete Cowboy,' that history is right now. Those stables — they face being taken away forever and, part of what Ricky said to me was that, 'I'm hoping that we made this movie and they keep the stables, based on the fact that people fall in love with the story and history and heritage of the stables.'"

Fletcher Street Stable's history stretches back more than a century, evolving into a tradition of mentorship that steers young people away from violence and drugs. Gentrification, unemployment and drug use have threatened the survival of the stables, which also have been scrutinized by the city over concerns about sanitation and animal welfare.

Other urban horseback riding clubs in Philadelphia include Work to Ride and the Black Cowboys Association.

During the making of the film, Elba was seen taking horseback riding lessons in the Spring Garden section of the city. Still shots from the movie were released earlier this year.

Additional cast members seen in another photo include Jharrel Jerome, Lorraine Toussaint, Byron Bowers and Method Man.

A Netflix release date for 'Concrete Cowboy' has not yet been determined.