Idris Elba Confronts Loss and a Rampant Lion in Thrilling ‘Beast’

admin August 19, 2022

In general, he has been shown as a tough guy and even unbeatable. This is at least how he is identified by large audiences for his participation in several Avengers movies, where he has played the powerful Asgardian Heimdall, as well as for having represented the supervillain Bloodsport in “The Suicide Squad” (2021), which gives him the distinction of being part of both the cinematographic universe and that of DC -to which, according to strong rumors, he would be about to return-.

Going to the less ‘mainstream’ level, Idris Elba impressed more than one movie buff when he masterfully played the terrifying Commander of “Beasts of No Nation” (2015), which earned him a Golden Globe nomination; and, in a very different dimension, he took on the challenge of representing one of the most adored activists in all of history in the ‘biopic’ “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (2013).

However, beyond the moral character of each of his characters, the British artist -he is also a musician and DJ- has become known for his forceful histrionic skills, responsible for any intervention of his that automatically elevates the project in which he finds himself. involved. And that is precisely what happens with “Beast”, the survival thriller by Baltasar Kormákur (“2 Guns”, “Everest”), which is on the billboard today and gives you the opportunity to put yourself in the shoes of a doctor whose trip to South Africa with his daughters confronts him not only with the aftermath of a recent family tragedy, but also with a lone lion who threatens everything he has left in life.

In the interview with the Los Angeles Times in Spanish that you can also find here in video format with subtitles in our language, Elba talks about her new character, what it meant to work again in the continent where her parents were born, the way in which the production team managed to recreate animals that were not present during filming and the future of his career.

Yes. It is definitely the most difficult road to travel. You make a movie about man versus beast, or you make one about a family dealing with loss; you don’t usually put all that together. For us, it was very important to show a certain dynamic: on one side, there is the man who is losing his family, who has lost his wife and who is perhaps losing his daughters, and on the other, there is a lion who , due to poachers, he has lost his own family and has become dangerous. The two are directed at each other. My character has to deal with his fears, and the other has to deal with his desire for revenge. We had several conversations about how to get this to work out in the script.

This is a modern movie with a lot of special effects, but at heart it’s a very classic movie, with obvious references to “Cujo” and “Jaws”. Anyone could say that they want to do something like this, but achieving it is not easy. The long takes that are used give you a chance to express yourself emotionally, and also make the action scenes work differently than they would if they were cut up, like a music video. How did that process unfold?

It was a process worth seeing. Baltasar [Kormákur], our director, had a very clear idea of ​​how he was going to shoot the film. This is a survival film, and it gave us several advantages to have Balt, who had already made that kind of film, as was the case with “Everest” and “Adrift”, and who knows well how these situations develop in beings. humans.

In this case, there’s a family dynamic that’s very important to the survival component, and this was all a labor of love. I really liked making this film. It was hard; We were not in easy and sensual locations, but in arid locations that were difficult to photograph due to lighting issues.

Something that is also striking is the way in which South Africa is portrayed, because these real locations become one more character. Sometimes the language used by people from there is even shown -the Venda-, and the soundtrack, where African artists appear, is very successful. This is a big Hollywood production, but it shows respect for the place.

There was definitely a lot of time and dedication invested in the cultural aspects of the film. We didn’t want viewers to say, “Oh, I’m never going to South Africa”; we wanted them to see the film and know that what is presented is a journey, but at the same time feel that the filmmakers did everything possible to maintain honesty.

You had already made some films in different parts of Africa, which is, of course, a very big continent, as was the case with “Sometimes in April”, “Beasts of No Nation” and, of course, the film about Mandela. But how exciting was it for you to return to make this film, which is more on the action side of the thriller? Were your parents born there?

Nope; my parents are from West Africa, from Sierra Leone and Ghana. But yeah, it was great to come back. I love making movies in Africa; I like the temperature, the work teams are very good, people are willing to do what they have to do and there is a great work ethic. I always have a good time in Cape Town. During the winter months, the sun is beautiful, the light is beautiful, and the days are short. That was a challenge, but it was also a lot of fun.

beast I wouldn't say! My character is not like that

You say you like the temperature there, but in the movie, your daughters’ characters say it’s too hot for them. They filmed during the winter; Is it better then to visit at that time?

For us, it was better to go during their winter season. Despite what you see in that scene, it’s not that hot. It gets like this at noon, but we would shoot very early, so we could capture that beautiful light that you see on film, and then we would shoot at the end of the day, from dusk to dawn.

Let’s talk about fighting lions. If someone asked me who can do it in a minimally decent way, I would say maybe Idris Elba; I definitely don’t. Of course, it is an impossible task. Your character in the movie is very strong, but aside from having to fight the lonely lion because he has no other choice, he is a doctor. That’s interesting, because he has studied medicine and has the opportunity to use his abilities at different times in history. I imagine that was a detail that also caught your attention.

Completely! This is a different character for me. He is not the hero, he is not someone who knows how to fight or who has weapons, but someone who is a dad and who is very involved in being a dad. That is what makes, in my opinion, that this father can generate more identification with the audience than other fathers [of cinema]. No one can fight a lion; That’s not the point.

There’s also humor in the film, like in the scene where your character is dealing with a car that doesn’t have the key in it, and when one of his daughters asks him, “Can you turn it on with the wires?” he replies: “I went to medical school!” It’s something a regular Hollywood hero wouldn’t say.

I wouldn’t say! My character is not like that; Not at all. I think that’s a refreshing way to introduce a character in a movie. You have seen the father of several films doing things like this and therefore you expect the same thing to happen here, but what I offer in this case is something different.

Can you do it in real life?

Me? Nope! I can hack my car, but that’s different.

The things that happen here between the lions and the humans could not have been filmed in reality, so the use of CGI seemed inevitable. How was that part of the job? When you received the script, did the first page say very clearly that no real lions were going to be used, in case you were wondering?

We knew we didn’t want real animals in this history class. It would have been cruel, and to be honest, we didn’t need it, because the special effects toolbox that exists today is so big that if there’s something you can imagine, someone else can create it. Also, as filmmakers, it allowed us to move forward and move on. Having a lion on set would definitely have been very difficult to deal with.


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