Idris Elba, Jay-Z, Regina King Celebrate World Premiere of The Harder They Fall Alongside Netflix Boss Ted Sarandos
The world premiere of Jeymes Samuel’s “The Harder They Fall” at the BFI London Film Festival was the hottest ticket in town on Wednesday evening, with the red carpet boasting a stream of bold-face names including the film’s stars Idris Elba and Regina King and Netflix boss Ted Sarandos.
They were joined by a host of personalities spanning film, television, technology and music, including Jay-Z, who was there in his capacity as the film’s producer (he also co-wrote the music alongside Samuel), rapper Kid Cudi, “Lord of the Rings” actor Andy Serkis, British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, former “Britain’s Got Talent” judge Alesha Dixon, fashion designer Ozwald Boateng, haute shoemaker Christian Louboutin and model Sabrina Dhowre Elba, among others.
Stealing the show, however, was break-out “Bridgerton” star Regé-Jean Page, whose “step and repeat” appearance drew gasps from the audience inside the auditorium as they watched a live stream of the red carpet action going on outside.
As the 2,700-capacity venue filled almost to the brim, Ben Roberts, chief executive of the BFI, took to the stage to welcome guests to the premiere, which also served as the LFF’s gala opening, and thank the festival’s sponsors and donors.
He was followed by LFF’s director Tricia Tuttle, who paid tribute to Samuel’s feature debut effort, noting “it stars our most glamorous BFI governor,” referring to Elba, who is a member of the BFI’s board of governors.
Finally, the cast and crew came out onto the stage to rapturous applause, though even Jay-Z couldn’t compete with Elba’s homecoming: as the London-born actor walked onto the stage, the crowd went wild, for a moment better resembling San Diego Comic Con’s Hall H than the usually buttoned-up British audience.
As he introduced the film, Samuel spoke of his love for the Western genre, which he has watched since childhood, but acknowledged its traditionally racial homogeneity: “All of these amazing men and women of color […] didn’t have a voice,” he said of the genre, before reeling off a list of real-life Black cowboys, including Nat Love and Rufus Buck, the lead characters in “The Harder They Fall.” “I just wanted to assemble them all in one place at one time, like the Avengers.”
“The Harder They Fall” will get a limited theatrical release on Oct. 22 before heading to Netflix on Nov. 3.
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