MAJORS' LEAGUE
Total Film|October 2021
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.
ANN LEE

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.”

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