Jeymes Samuel, the frontman for U.K. hip-hop collective The Bullits, isn’t a recognizable name in most circles. But the up-and-coming musician is trying his hand at filmmaking, putting together black western short “They Die By Dawn,” with a fairly impressive cast already being lined up.
OkayPlayer are reporting that Samuel has recruited “The Wire” duo Idris Elba and Michael K. Williams along with Rosario Dawson, “Breaking Bad” star Giancarlo Esposito and songstress Erykah Badu for a forty-five minute film likely to be a companion piece to his upcoming album, “They Die By Dawn And Other Short Stories.” Elba and Dawson have worked with Samuel before, and their work can be found on The Bullit’s Youtube page. It doesn’t stop there either, with “some more big names” to be added in the near future.
“I’m shooting a Western ‘They Die By Dawn’ at the Melody Ranch Studios in L.A. where they shot ‘Deadwood,'” Samuel previously told ClashMusic. “It’s set in 1890 with every single black actor in Hollywood swagged out cowboy style – Langston, Oklahoma. I am super, super excited.”
Asked about who he admires creatively, Samuel revealed a bit more about inspirations behind his current ambitions, naming “Sergio Leone, who directed ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ and his college roommate buddy music scorer, Ennio Morricone, who gave us those awesome sounds and Western soundtracks. Iconic. I love them. They couldn’t afford massive orchestras so they used speech and sonics as instruments. That, in the end, was far more powerful and effective and distinguished those films and stories.”
A reunion between Elba and Williams, two of the best from “The Wire,” will always have our attention, and coupled with Samuel’s promises of a spaghetti western featuring all black cowboys, we’re highly intrigued. His aforementioned album doesn’t come out until the summer, but here are a few videos of Samuel’s work, including a live in-studio performance at the BBC with Lucy Liu of all people.
Check out this quote on Rosario Dawson from an interview with Jeymes Samuel:
For ‘Supercool’, I’m feeling the tune at the same time as I see a tramp and a trolley. A tramp and a trolley. I see the tramp. I can easily jump into that character as he’s real, in my head. It came about after I was in the studio next to Rosario Dawson. What people don’t know is that Rosario Dawson is ‘swagged out’. I mean she’s just really, really musical. We would have dance-offs in the studio or a youtube battle from 8pm-11am. That particular night, we had a youtube battle from 8.30pm. Rosario wrote down every single clip we did. From that day, we were playing ‘Supercool’. The person the tramp meets is Rosario Dawson. I explained it to her and she straight agreed. Rosario is such a down-to-earth person. She gets an Oyster card and travels by train all the time. The film was totally unrehearsed and we did it all in one take. CBS News and worldstarhiphop.com were all over it: ‘Scavenger arrests Rosario Dawson.’ They really believed it. For me, film and music can be a portal into a train of thought.