A pulse-pounding thriller about a father and his two teenage daughters who find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion, for actor Idris Elba, making “Beast” was a stretch.
“I like to make films that are never the same and I hadn’t made a film like this. There is this thrill of taking the audience out of their comfort zone and putting them someone where else,” shares the thespian, who plays a recently widowed husband who returns to South Africa with his daughters, but what begins as a journey of healing jolts into a fearsome fight for survival when a lion begins stalking them.
The film follows a family who returns to their mother’s homeland in Africa after her recent passing. Nate (Elba) and his two daughters, Norah (Leah Jeffries) and Meredith (Iyana Halley), while there, meet up with an old family friend and wildlife biologist Martin (Sharlto Copley), for an overdue getaway. On a private trip to a game reserve, they encounter Beast, an aggressive lion who is out for revenge after losing their entire pride to a group of poachers and it becomes a case of man vs. beast.
“This film has a family dynamic alongside the thriller which doesn’t stop, and it screamed a lot of nostalgia for me,” he continues. “This is a story about a family who is grieving, and the relationship has been strained and they take this trip to Africa where their mother is from. If you have never been to Africa, this is a great film to see. They call South Africa God’s country, and you will see why. What we see is survival. This animal is in this small radius of this village. That is his territory, and we follow Nate and the girls as they try to survive.”
“Beast” also marked a return to the country where Elba has filmed several movies.
“I love working in South Africa. I have worked there a few times and it’s a beautiful part of the world that is really stunning. The environment is a big part of the film, and it was important we went there and showed this part of the world in its entirety and glory. For filmmaking, South Africa is just beautiful.”
“Beast” is directed by Baltasar Kormákur, the director of “Everest” and produced by Will Packer, the blockbuster producer of “Girls Trip,” and “Think Like a Man.”
“Death is a beast, and it will come, and it might not tell you when and it’s frightening and scary, but you have to go through and it’s a metaphor with the lion who is also scared and wants safety like everyone does. My character Nate is a man who is broken by the loss of his wife and mother of his children and his relationship with his kids is fractured at the beginning of this movie. What they go through is extraordinary and it helps to repair their relationship. We take audiences on a thrill ride.”
“Beast” is out in theaters
By Samantha Ofole-Prince / Photos courtesy of Universal Studios