Idris Elba And ‘Beast’ Movie Cast Interview At NYC Premiere

Film Premiere Interviews

Take the film ‘Jaws’, combine it with the ‘The Lion King‘, add a stellar cast starring the amazing Idris Elba, and you’ve got one ‘Beast’ of a movie!

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, written by Ryan Engle, produced by Will Packer, and executive produced by Jaime Primak-Sullivan, Universal Pictures, ‘Beast’ serves as a solid natural horror flick that centers on the apex of the jungle since 1996’s ‘The Ghost and the Darkness‘. 

Making his way down the red carpet inside the MoMA in New York City for an electric premiere night, Baltasar Kormákur touches on the concept of the film. 

“[Beast is] also a metaphor in the challenge that people meet with their children, with their families,” Kormákur says before continuing, “the beast for me represents the biggest challenge which is to keep the family together at all costs, fight for your children, whether it’s metaphorically or physically, and that’s what I want people to take away.”

 “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my children,” Kormákur says. 

Set in the rural provinces of Limpopo and Northern Cape in South Africa, Elba stars as Nate Samuels, a trusted doctor who flies with his teenage daughters Meredith (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Jeffries) to the hometown of their late mother. In an attempt to bond, the three set forth on their trip in hopes to make new memories with one another. 

While on their journey they navigate the land with their park-ranger guide and long-time family friend Martin Battles (Sharlto Copely), who utilizes his skills to protect the heavily poached lion pride nearby.

Unfortunately, the trip takes a turn for the worst as the group discovers an entire village mauled by the likes of a blood-thirsty lion, seeking blood and revenge. Determined to flee back to the mainlands, the Samuels family and Battles must work together to outsmart quite literally one of the most intelligent, and dangerous predators in Africa. 

While it encompasses the best of a thriller film, ‘Beast’ still seems to fall into a category of its own, especially according to Will Packer. 

“It is in that great tradition of survival thrillers, man versus beast, you see that and you know it’s going to be an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride,” Packer says while a smile. “Idris elevates [the film], he’s always at the top of his game but he’s got his hands full with this one…because this lion is at the top of his game too.”

In one scene Elba confronts the viscous lion just moments after it darts at full speed for the jeep in which his children take coverage. 

No stranger to embodying the physicality of his roles, Elba who actually  “loves” lions, reflects on some of his favorite intense scenes. 

“Me and the two actors that are playing my daughters, Iyana and Leah, we did a lot of improvisation, Elba says. “It was a lot of singing and dancing and rapping, and I love doing that, and when we were training for the actual lion fight, it was like a good two weeks of training every day, all day; but it was good and very layered, both the technical work and the physical work.”

As for Elba’s next fight, it strictly comes down to racism. Getting into a fighting stance, Elba says, “I’ve never actually feared [lions], if I face anything it’s racism, let’s go fight that fight.”

While the cast luckily did not have to face any actual lions, only the impressive CGI one, the cast did encounter other animal life while in the African bush.

In fact, Sharlto Copely recounted a time that he narrowly missed being charged by a black rhino before eventually making a break on his mountain bike. 

“It was the craziest experience of my life!” Copley said with a laugh. 

Thankfully, Copley was able to rely on his natural instincts as he hails from South Africa himself, and found it to be special filming in his hometown with his co-stars. 

“It was really a special family dynamic that we were having…. I really miss this group,” Copley says while glancing towards his cast on the carpet.

While a smile, Copley add’s, “I just hope that is a really fun immersive exciting experience in cinema again….I hope people enjoy it!”

Get into the thrill ride behind ‘Beast’ as it hits theaters Friday, August 19th!

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