Interview with Idris Elba for the release of the adventure thriller "The Beast"

Interview with Idris Elba for the release of the adventure thriller “The Beast”

Idris Elba has starred in the new action-adventure thriller The Beast. After the tragic death of his wife, the father, along with his two daughters, comes to South Africa. However, a carefree family trip eventually turns into a dangerous journey in which the protagonist will have to confront a formidable beast in a desperate struggle for survival. Especially for the premiere, the actor shared his impressions of filming and working on the film.

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You joined this project at an early stage. What attracted you the most about it?

First of all, a kind of nostalgia: the thriller genre itself, the intensity of how events unfold and take the audience out of their comfort zone into unknown territory. All this palette of emotions really fascinated me, because there are dynamics in family relationships and real suspense. I like to act in films of different genres, the stories of which do not differ among themselves. And on such a project as “The Beast”, I had to work for the first time. Also, I was eager to work with director Baltasar Kormakur. Once he got to work, everything came together like a puzzle. I am very proud of this film and I hope the audience will also appreciate it.

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What kind of man is Dr. Nate Daniels?

He’s definitely not a typical hero. This is a man broken by the loss of his wife and the mother of his children, so Nate’s relationship with his two teenage daughters deteriorates early in the film. Nate is far from a fighter, and he feels guilty for giving up after losing his beloved. But ahead of them is waiting for a lot of unpredictable events. I hope that the experience that my hero will receive will help him cope with the pain and become stronger for the sake of the children.

What do you like most about Nate?

If we talk about his character, I am impressed by his reliability. He is a father. And although he does not always know what to do next, he will always do what he must for the safety of the family.

I was also struck by the battle between the beast, which is the lion beast and the man beast. This struggle is a symbolic battle between two beasts. The lion has been torn away from his family, he is fighting for his life, survival and territory. And Nate is the same, because he could lose his daughters. This fight is a real challenge for him, and I enjoyed reading the script and imagining how I would embody everything on the screen.

The beast

How did you prepare for the role?

Baltasar is a director who demands maximum truth on the screen, he does not tolerate falsehood. So we worked hard and prepared for the role. In order to better convey this battle on the screen, we talked with doctors and various experts. In addition, we did a lot of our own research, rehearsals and preparations.

Since the death of his wife, Nate’s relationship with his daughters Meredith and Nora has been strained to say the least. Therefore, for him this trip to Africa is an opportunity to relax and find a common language with them again. What can you say about John Halley and Leah Jeffreys, two young actresses who played your children?

They were open to everything, enjoyed the process, but at the same time took their work seriously. We got on really well and, in a way, we even became a little family because we spent a lot of time together and tried to get to know each other better. Thanks to this, we were able to truly transform into our characters on the screen. Sometimes we were so fond of shooting that even during the breaks we were in the role. It was important for us to convey these feelings to the audience, because this is one of the key aspects of the film. While watching the movie, you, on the one hand, will worry about their lives, and on the other, root for their relationship to improve.

In a way, this struggle to survive after being attacked by a huge lion has become a metaphor for what this family is going through, isn’t it?

And there is. Death is a beast that does not warn of its attack. It’s scary, it hurts, but it’s what we have to go through. Therefore, this battle with the lion is really metaphorical.

South African-born Sharlto Copley played your best friend and keeper of a nature reserve that Nate’s family visits. His appearance in the film brought lightness and humor to the story. Tell more about it.

Sharlto is a nice guy and I really enjoyed working with him. He has a great sense of humor and, it seems to me, he managed to create a character who will not leave the audience indifferent. He knew the girls’ mom and probably introduced her to Nate. Therefore, as the film develops, we learn more about their relationship with Nate and there is nowhere without humor.

By the way, there is a scene at the beginning of the film where they have a drink together, and your character shows his vulnerability.

Yes, at this point you will notice that something is wrong with Nate. He is kind of unassembled, so he becomes a little drunk and emotional. Although he associates Africa with happy days, he also feels very vulnerable there.

The beast

The story turns into a real thriller when a lion begins to hunt for them. What do you think your reaction would be in such a situation?

I would probably do what Nate does. Although, perhaps, at first he would have run away and not even contacted by a predator. However, if my children were in danger, I would definitely fight.

How did you film in South Africa?

I really liked it there – it’s a fantastic part of our world. In the film, the surrounding locations play a key role in the story, so it was important for us to show these places in all their beauty. In addition, there is beautiful light and our cameraman Philip Rousselot managed to use this one hundred percent. We are very lucky to have found such locations. In some ways, this shooting even reminded me of a trip to a summer camp.

What can you say about the work of the director?

Balt knows how to immerse the viewer in the atmosphere of the plot, which is why his films about survival are so exciting. You seem to live through all the emotions and events that the characters live through. Therefore, The Beast turned out to be tense, unpredictable, in some scenes it will cause a feeling of a certain isolation, and it will also hold attention until the very end.

Balthazar filmed the tape using long takes to immerse viewers in the surrounding events.

Yes, he wanted the audience to feel like the real characters in the film. It’s quite an interesting technique from a filming point of view, although it made our job a little more difficult, because we had to do all the takes the first time. Therefore, we had a lot of rehearsals, but it was worth it, because thanks to this approach, we managed to convey all the tension of the plot.

The visuals with which the lion was created are also amazing.

This is the first time I realized how difficult this process of filming is. We had a stuntman with us on set and we were rehearsing fight scenes with him when he had an extra huge weight attached to him. We wanted to understand the dynamics of a lion attacking a human in real life, to make sure the audience sees it the way it happens in reality.

Could you have imagined at the beginning of your acting career that you would someday fight a lion on screen?

No never! However, it happened and I am delighted with this turn of events.

The Beast also opens our eyes to the situation of the lion population in South Africa, which has declined by 90% over the past century.

We felt a certain responsibility not to arouse total hatred for lions. And although the film is called “The Beast”, however, this name has a greater metaphorical meaning. After all, usually an animal does not attack people just to attack, however, when its pack is in danger, that’s another story.

The beast

This film explains to us why we must respect nature and what are the consequences if this is neglected.

Yes indeed. This is an important message, and we also tried to understand what the animals are experiencing because of the attacks of poachers and what we can do to protect them. We also wanted to understand what our impact on wildlife is. Therefore, this lion is not a villain for me, but a creature close to me in character.

The film has depth and heart, but above all, is it a real movie attraction?

Yes, it’s an exciting rollercoaster ride. There is a lot of suspense in the film, since hardly anyone would like to be chased by a wild beast. I think we managed to make a film, after which the audience will say: “Wow!”

Other than that, the film is visually perfect.

We managed to create a visually stunning picture. The surrounding nature is incredible, so it periodically gets into the frame. We shot some amazing landscapes and wanted to show how isolated this family is from the world with the help of the picture.

Now that the shooting of “The Beast” is over, how do you feel about this story?

I am very proud to have been a part of its creation. While working on The Beast, I also had the opportunity to learn from the director, to understand how a person sets up a whole process from scratch. I’m a director myself, so this experience was very useful for me.

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