Concrete Cowboy: Where is the film set? Is it based on a true story?

Production still from Concrete Cowboy.
Concrete Cowboy is set during summertime in North Philadelphia and filmed throughout the city. Pic credit: Netflix

Netflix’s latest drama, Concrete Cowboy is set during summer in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The movie follows a teenager stuck at the crossroads of a troubled life or following in his estranged father’s cowboy-booted footsteps. 

Stranger Things’ Caleb McLaughlin plays the lead character, 15-year-old Cole. After he is expelled from school, he is sent to live with his father (Idris Elba).

Here, he gains insight into his father’s work rehabilitating horses for cowboys at the Fletcher Street Stables. The stables provide a tight-knit and supportive community of people who bond over their adoration for horse culture and their generation roots in the area. 

Inspired by true events

Concrete Cowboy is inspired by real-life events that occurred in Philadelphia for years.

Netflix writes, “Black urban horse riders have been an integral aspect of North Philadelphia culture for more than 100 years.” 

The movie’s director and co-writer Ricky Staub shared that his inspiration for Concrete Cowboy happened “about seven years ago” when he was working in an office in North Philadelphia and met a real cowboy riding in a horse-pulled buggy.

The man shared that he was from “Fletcher Street,” instantly sparking Staub’s curiosity.

This concept stuck with Staub and was amplified when he came across the novel the movie was based on, written by Greg Neri.

As Staub and his team began to work on the movie adaptation, they consulted many Fletcher Street community members, including stable workers.

The director pushed authenticity to the forefront of his storytelling, and he formed a tight-knit relationship with the lesser-known cowboy community. Producer Daniels shared similar affections for Fletcher Street.

He expressed, “The stables are constantly under threat of closure, and when that happens, we’ll never see these stables again. 100 years of history will just be lost.” 

He added, “That we’re able to document it with this film is very powerful. We see Philadelphia like we’ve never seen it before, and the faces of African Americans in Philadelphia like we’ve never seen them.” 

Where was Concrete Cowboy filmed? 

Concrete Cowboy was filmed throughout the North Philadelphia area, with multiple shoots taking place at the Fletcher Street Stables, located in the historic Strawberry Mansion neighborhood of the city.

Through press for the movie, Staub revealed that he didn’t even consider shooting Concrete Cowboy at a different location, despite the troubles he faced setting up production in an area that isn’t known for its flashy movie shoots.

He shared, “It definitely didn’t make it any easier on us, but it paid huge dividends to be in the real space with the real people. Just the jolt of energy that it gave to the film to be on their home turf, making their own story was pretty special.”

Concrete Cowboy is currently streaming on Netflix.

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