EXCLUSIVE: Production is now underway on Concrete Cowboys, with Idris Elba starring with Stranger Things‘ Caleb McLaughlin. Also starring is Jharrel Jerome, who is freshly Emmy nominated for Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us; Lorraine Toussaint (The Village); and Byron Bowers (The Chi). Elba is coming off a strong opening weekend for the Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw.
The film is inspired by the real-life Fletcher Street Stables, a black urban horsemanship community which has existed in Philadelphia for more than 100 years providing a safe haven for the neighborhood. Pic is also inspired by the novel Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri. Concrete Cowboys follows 15-year-old Cole (McLaughlin) who is taken to live with his estranged father Harp (Elba) in North Philadelphia, where he discovers the city’s vibrant urban cowboy subculture, which flourishes despite the surrounding poverty, violence, and encroachment of gentrification.
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Ricky Staub is directing a screenplay he wrote with Dan Walser. Staub is making his feature directing debut after helming The Cage, a short that tells the story of survival in the streets of Philadelphia.
The film is financed by Tucker Tooley Entertainment. Lee Daniels Entertainment is producing with Tucker Tooley Entertainment and Elba’s Green Door Pictures. Elba is producing the drama alongside Daniels, Tooley, Walser, Waxylu Films’ Jennifer Madelof and Jeff Waxman, and Jennifer Madeloff. The executive producers are Greg Renker, Jason Barhydt, Sam Mercer, Tegan Jones, Staci Hagenbaugh and Neri.
It’s a big opportunity for McLaughlin, who plays Lucas Sinclair in the Netflix series Stranger Things and shared an ensemble SAG Award in 2017. He began his career on the Broadway stage as Young Simba in the musical The Lion King.
WME reps Elba, McLaughlin, and Nash. Jerome is represented by UTA. Toussaint is repped by Frontline Management, Innovative and David Fox; Jerome is repped by Kipperman Management and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern; Bowers is repped by WME and Paul Young’s Make Good Content.