Don’t hide your talent, ever. Ever!’” Jonathan Majors is recounting some advice he got from Spike Lee, his friend, mentor and former director (Da 5 Bloods). Chatting to Total Film over Zoom, a lamp pierces the darkness of the room he’s in, illuminating his features. “That’s one of the things he would say. I remember him telling me: ‘Don’t give me this humble shit… Shine, little brother, shine!’’’ Sage words, which the laid-back 32-year-old actor has taken to heart, both in his personal life and his work.
Majors has the kind of talent that is hard to miss. He wouldn’t have been able to hide it even if he tried. In just a few years, he has emerged as an unstoppable force, a magnetic actor with real gravitas, who is capable of the kind of on-screen alchemy that leaves you completely transfixed. Since graduating from Yale School of Drama in 2016, he has won acclaim for his breakthrough role in The Last Black Man In San Francisco, picked up an Emmy nomination for his performance in HBO’s Lovecraft Country, and landed a massive part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Kang the Conqueror (but more on that later...).
His latest film, The Harder They Fall, is a Netflix Western by first-time director Jeymes Samuel that reinvigorates the genre with snarling glee and visual aplomb. Majors plays Nat Love, the real-life Black cowboy who roamed the Wild West under the nickname Deadwood Dick. With the help of his old gang, including his former love, Stagecoach Mary (Zazie Beetz), he sets out to avenge his parents after learning that their killer, Rufus Buck (Idris Elba), has broken out of prison.
Samuel got in touch with Majors after seeing him give an interview about White Boy Rick. The gritty true-crime thriller hadn’t been released yet, but there was something about the way he spoke about his character, a drug kingpin, that made Samuel think he had found his Love. After their first conversation about The Harder They Fall, the actor was so inspired that he wrote two poems about the famous cowboy and sent them to the filmmaker.
“Love is an orphan, who lives in a circus with a horse and guns,” says Majors, who is in London shooting Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania when we talk. Dressed in a red beanie and grey hooded sweatshirt, he’s a thoughtful and engaging presence. “You know, he’s the ringmaster… Something has been done to him that is extremely violating and unfair. This 10-year-old boy then spends the rest of his life trying to make things fair. The ultimate act of doing that is executing his own bully.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Michael Winterbottom On Why The UK Isn't Making More Indie Films
Michael Winterbottom is one of Britain’s most prolific film directors, but in his new book he lifts the lid on why it’s so hard to get films made in the UK. Having used the first covid lockdown to interview a who’s who of the country’s auteurs, winterbottom tells total film why the industry often fails to nurture its most promising talent.
He has worked with titans like Fincher and Scorsese, and played Spider-Man. Yet nothing in Andrew Garfield’s remarkable career so far can prepare us for the range of talent displayed in three upcoming movies: Mainstream, tick, tick…BOOM! and The Eyes Of Tammy Faye…
ROMEO + JULIET
Back in October 1996, Baz Luhrmann presented his latest film to journalists – an audacious, modern take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Filmed in Mexico during extreme weather (and with crew kidnappings!), it starred 22-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio and a teenage Claire Danes as the titular star-crossed lovers, and had yet to be seen, let alone embraced, by audiences. As it celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, Total Film looks back to the eve of its premiere (just as DiCaprio began work on Titanic) when the trio discussed language, love and lots of water...
With prequel movie The Many Saints Of Newark about to hit cinemas, Total Film pays respect to modern TV classic THE SOPRANOS, and how a hit show changed the mob genre, long-form storytelling and audience expectations forever.
THE BITE STUFF
DRACULA has been terrifying readers ever since Bram Stoker first created the ultimate vampire. As Bela Lugosi’s screen turn as the bloodsucker celebrates its 90th birthday, Total Film examines the appeal of one of horror’s most enduring icons.
THE HARDER THEY FALL. Jeymes Samuel spotlights the forgotten faces of the American West…
Two young women with big dreams discover that London can be the stuff of nightmares in Edgar Wright’s disturbing, dazzling Last Night In Soho. Total Film cowers on set as Wright terrorises Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy in the horror event of the year.
SET AROUND A FICTIONAL MAGAZINE, WES ANDERSON’S COMIC ANTHOLOGY THE FRENCH DISPATCH IS A TRIBUTE TO BOTH A BYGONE ERA AND THE WRITTEN WORD. TOTAL FILM LISTENS UP AS THE CAST AND CREW GIVE THE LOW-DOWN ON THE DIRECTOR’S MOST AMBITIOUS MOVIE YET.
AFTER CONSISTENTLY IMPRESSING IN POWERHOUSE DRAMAS, JONATHAN MAJORS IS GEARING UP FOR WORLD DOMINATION IN THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE AND CREED III. AHEAD OF THE RELEASE OF REVISIONIST WESTERN THE HARDER THEY FALL, TOTAL FILM MEETS THE EFFORTLESS CHARISMATIC MEGASTAR-IN-WAITING.
10 IMMORTAL HEROES 7,000 YEARS ONE OSCAR WINNING DIRECTOR MARVEL'S BOLDEST MOVIE YET
THE NEXT MOVIE IN MARVEL’S PHASE 4, ETERNALS IS SET TO BE MARVEL’S BIGGEST S W I N G Y E T . COMBINING MILLENNIA-SPANNING SWEEP WITH INDIE SENSIBILITIES AND ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING ENSEMBLES YET ASSEMBLED FOR A SUPERHERO FILM, CHLOÉ ZHAO’S SUPER-FAMILY EPIC COULD CHANGE THE COMIC-BOOK MOVIE LANDSCAPE FOREVER.