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It will screen on Oct. 6 at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in the British capital.
The movie stars Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, LaKeith Stanfield, Danielle Deadwyler, Edi Gathegi, R.J. Cyler, Damon Wayans Jr. and Deon Cole with Regina King and Idris Elba.
Organizers said on Wednesday that Samuel is expected to attend “along with key cast, including Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, Regina King and Idris Elba.”
There will be simultaneous preview screenings at cinemas across the U.K. The film will debut on Netflix on Nov. 3 following the release in U.K. cinemas.
Written by Samuel and Boaz Yakin and produced by Shawn Carter, James Lassiter, Lawrence Bender and Samuel, the film features an original soundtrack album produced by Samuel and executive produced by Carter.
“When outlaw Nat Love (Majors) discovers that his enemy Rufus Buck (Elba) is being released from prison, he rounds up his gang to track Rufus down and seek revenge,” according to a plot description. “Those riding with him in this assured, righteously new school Western includes his former love Stagecoach Mary, his right- and left-hand men — hot-tempered Bill Pickett and fast drawing Jim Beckwourth — and a surprising adversary turned ally. Rufus Buck has his own fearsome crew, including ‘Treacherous’ Trudy Smith and Cherokee Bill, and they are not a group that knows how to lose.”
Samuel said: “Growing up in the U.K., the festival has always been the highlight of my year, and I couldn’t have imagined anything better than to have my debut film included in this year’s lineup.”
Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival director, said: “Jeymes Samuel has come out with both guns blazing with his lightning-paced, witty and phenomenally entertaining new western.” She added: “This is brutal and funny genre filmmaking, sometimes making you chuckle and gasp in the same breath, while each of its mega stars absolutely burns up the screen, working to a cleverly written script from Samuel and Boaz Yakin that reveals the tenderness even in the darkest villainous heart. It’s rare for a debut filmmaker to pull off something this ambitious and accomplished in their first feature, and Samuel knowingly tips his hat to cinematic forbearers, but also delivers a film which is inventive and uniquely his own. It’s a total joy for us to open the festival with the work of a filmmaker from London.”
In 2020, the festival shifted most of its activities online amid fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Steve McQueen and Letitia Wright helped raise the curtain on the 2020 edition as his feature Mangrove — one of his five films in the BBC/Amazon Small Axe anthology — got its European premiere in the British capital. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the usual red carpet was scrapped along with the post-screening reception, with a much reduced audience at the BFI Southbank.
The London festival will run Oct. 6-17.
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