No, no, Meet the Compton Cowboy Who Prepared Daniel Kaluuya to Play a Hollywood Horse Trainer

No, no, Meet the Compton Cowboy Who Prepared Daniel Kaluuya to Play a Hollywood Horse Trainer ...

Daniel Kaluuya's ease around horses was a clue that the actors' process was coming to fruition, according to IndieWire. Kaluuya reached out to the Compton Cowboys' co-founder for horsemanship lessons, and he found that valuable. He saw some things on the screen like, okay, bro, I see you.

Jordan Peeles' alien thriller has a unique connection to animals on film: It's not only a quasi-Western story featuring Kaluuya astride a Lucky steed, but it's also about the people who make horses in films, giving the whole operation a meta quality. According to their father, Kenneth David, the Haywoods family is the descendants of the Black jockey from the film The Horse in Motion.

Kaluuya, via his manager, reached out to Savvy to discuss the lived experience of a Black horseman. He explained that some Hollywood horse training and cowboy culture relies on submission and fear.

The rest of Peele's eerie plans were kept under wraps, and Savvy has a keen interest in the representation of Black equestrians onscreen. They have a national reputation for launching a youth organization named Compton Jr. Equestrians in their Los Angeles neighborhood following the 2020 killing of George Floyd.

Savvy and Kaluuya studied how to mount, how to tack, and how to maneuver a horse in an arena. They also studied being loose, according to Savvy. Because what happens is, people are naturally anxious around horses because they have this preconceived notion that horses are dangerous animals. And so when you encounter a horse, you feel a tension and their body language becomes stiff and tense.

Kaluuyas' performance was apparent when Savvy first saw it. The actor plays OJ with an unflappable quality that extends even into the most high-energy scenes, according to Savvy. Or there was a part where he was dusting off the saddle and putting the girth on the hook, and I remember being like, Oh, that was a very natural way he did it, you know.

Universal Pictures, with photo credit

Savvy acknowledged that while the movie was strange, he found its depiction of working with horses on sets to be accurate, particularly in a scene at the start of the film where a horse is spooked when the crew fails to pay attention to the Haywoods safety warnings. He also appreciated that the filmmakers avoided attempting to anthropomorphize the equine characters. It may easily come off as fake or cheesy or inauthentic.

Kaluuya is intentionally withdrawn from his role as OJ, but there are moments when you notice his connection to the animals, like when he tenderly assures Lucky that he will be safe during the final showdown. Its the lessons of Savvy and the Compton Cowboys that come through.