Idris Elba is officially in Philly.
The star was spotted riding a horse today at 28th and Fletcher Streets in North Philadelphia as part of training for his role in Concrete Cowboys. Formerly known as Ghetto Cowboy, the film, which is based on author Greg Neri’s novel of the same name, focuses on the city’s Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club.
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Elba will star in the film, as well as produce the project alongside Philly native Lee Daniels, of Empire fame. Philly filmmaker Ricky Staub, who cowrote the script alongside Neighborhood Film Co. partner Dan Walser, will direct in his feature debut.
The movie will bring to the screen Neri’s 2011 novel, which tells the story of young Detroit native Cole, who comes to Philly to live with his estranged father — reportedly Elba’s part in the film. Once Cole arrives in the city, he discovers urban horseback riding.
“Ricky and Dan’s brilliant script combines the energy and grit of an urban movie with the poetry and romance of the urban cowboy way of life,” Elba told Variety of the film last year.
Elba recently began training for his role and was seen today learning to ride on horseback alongside an instructor, complete with a cowboy hat and riding gloves. They were spotted by Philadelphia’s gentleman paparazzo HughE Dillon. According to a casting call from the Greater Philadelphia Film Office (GPFO), filming for Concrete Cowboy is scheduled in Philly through Aug. 30.
Filming for the movie in the city has been anticipated since last year, when a spokesperson from Neighborhood Film Co. told The Inquirer that a local production “would be the plan.” The GPFO added that it would be “impossible to replicate North Philly elsewhere.” Now, with Elba’s arrival in town, no replication will be necessary.