Exclusive Idris Elba dishes on his epic fight with a lion in Beast.The pitch is pretty strong. It Idris Elba versus a lion. Its Jaws on land. And its from a director who has well proven teeth when it comes to the action and disaster movie genres. Icelander Baltasar Kormákur who made true story-based adventures Everest and The Deep as well as actioners including 2 Guns and Contraband has a further connection to the material. When he was little he wanted to be lion scientist.
I have always been fascinated by animals but particularly lions. So I was like Okay this is something I would love to do he tells Den of Geek magazine. Kormákur is talking to us from London where he has currently in the edit suite putting the finishing touches on the movie. He had one condition when agreeing to the project I made it clear that if I was to do this movie I would have to shoot it in Africa.The movie follows Idris Elba as Doctor Nate Samuels a father of two teenage girls who is taking his daughters on safari to connect with the place where their recently deceased mother grew up. Its a pilgrimage for the family with the hope that they can bond after their collective loss. Filming took place in South Africa, from Cape Town to Limpopo to Northern Cape. Its the three corners of the country says Kormákur. I wanted to get versatility in the land. I wanted to show you more. I wanted to get the city look and the more bush savanna look of it.
Check out the trailer and you will see gorgeous vistas extraordinary panoramas giraffes ostriches elephants and a rogue lion hell bent on revenge.Unsurprisingly the lion is not real. Mostly as Kormákur points out because a real lion would kill you. But the CGI approach came with a lot more advantages. Because this lion was not just any lion.It is based loosely on a lion called Scarface that has just passed away Kormákur explains of his influences. That and Brad Pitt in Snatch believe it or not. I was just trying to explain what kind of physicality I was looking for like ripped and out of control. Kind of a sexy lion you know? We want villains to be sexy and in my mind an animal could be very sexy in a kind of exotic way.
According to Kormákur the lion in the original script was too big and chunky for his liking. It should be as big as they can get but its lean and fast and mean not like a heavy sausage of a lion. Because I think what scares you and gets to you is something that you connect with reality and if its too big it just starts to feel like Jurassic Park or something.This is not that movie. In fact Kormákur wanted to tell a family story grounded in reality.I loved the way the story was not over complicated. Because the story is in some ways rather straightforward it allows for the execution to be special. And what I went for which is unusual in these kinds of movies is very long takes and trying to put the people in the perspective of the characters as a lion is coming after them. It just feels like you can not get out of it. You are there and the lion is coming at you.