Idris Elba is proud to bring blockbuster Beast ‘back to the borough’ for premiere

Idris Elba is proud to bring blockbuster Beast ‘back to the borough’ for premiere

Idris Elba is proud to bring blockbuster Beast ‘back to the borough’ for premiere

Idris Elba said it “felt special” to bring the premiere of Beast to the borough where he grew up – saying he has gone “from Hackney to Hollywood”.

The 49-year-old actor stars in the new thriller about a father and his two teenage daughters who are chased by a lion while vacationing on the savannah.

Elba returned to South Africa to film the blockbuster, after filming the drama Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom in the country in 2013.

Special screening of Beast – London

Will Packer, Idris Elba and Baltasar Kormakur (Victoria Jones/PA)

He told the PA news agency: “I feel like an honorary South African when I go there because of Mandela.

“I love the country. I love that part of the world. I have a very special love for it.”

The Luther star, who plays Dr Nate Daniels in Beast, appeared at the premiere at the Hackney Picturehouse on Wednesday with the support of guest stars including British rapper Stormzy, who he hugged on arrival.

Elba said: “Not too far from here, I grew up on Dalston High Street. I never imagined that one day I would bring a film that I’m in and helped make back to the borough. It feels very special. I’m proud of it.

“From Hackney to Hollywood.”

Special screening of Beast – London

Idris Elba and Stormzy (Victoria Jones/PA)

In Beast, Elba’s recently widowed character returns to South Africa, where he first met his wife, to visit a game reserve when his family is stalked by a big cat.

“Acting with a CGI lion, it was technical, difficult, layered and slow – very slow – just to get it right,” he said.

“The lion is incredible in it. When you see it, it’s ‘Wow,’ but I remember painstaking layers to make it happen.”

Speaking about acting as a grieving husband, he added: “Everyone has gone through some kind of loss, but in this case it’s about finding out what the family dynamic is – children and the loss of their parents and how hard it is for their relationship.”

Elba’s real-life daughter Isan auditioned for the role of his on-screen daughter, but the character was played by This Is Us star Iyana Halley and Empire’s Leah Sava Jeffries.

The 87th Academy Awards - Arrivals - Los Angeles

Idris Elba and daughter Isan at the 2015 Oscars (PA)

Director Baltasar Kormakur told PA: “We don’t play with the second name, we cast the one that’s right for the role.

“Even though it’s his daughter, she wasn’t necessarily right for that particular girl of age.”

Kormakur, who directed Everest, 2 Guns and Contraband, said he shot the film in a way that feels “relentless” before talking about the challenges of shooting in the wilderness.

“There was a hyena biting a cable in the middle of the night … I was almost run over by an elephant outside my house,” he said.

“I’m a challenge junkie. There was nothing in me when I was invited to make a film about a lion with Idris Elba to say no.”

Elba added: “There was a pond sequence and apparently there was a snake roaming around in there that they couldn’t get out. I had to get in the water anyway, so I thought, ‘If it’s going to take me, it’s going to take me’. Some people said, “I’m not going anywhere near that.”

Kormakur said working with Elba was “amazing.”

“He is one of a kind. He is a great actor and movie star. He has the whole package and for this film he plays a vulnerable father who takes on a lion. He needed the full range, and he’s bringing it to the screen, he said.

The film, which also stars Sharlto Copley as wildlife biologist Martin Battles, was adapted for the screen by Ryan Engle from Jaime Primak Sullivan’s original story.

Producer Will Packer told the PA: “I like the fact that this film is about poaching and it’s also about family, because Idris plays a father who’s in a strained relationship with his daughters, and I think that’s something we can all relate to learn when they come out. of this pandemic.

“Everyone has had some tough times and sometimes the familiar relationships can be strained. At the end of the day, family is what you have to rely on and what’s most important, and this film examines that.”

Beast is released in UK cinemas on August 26.

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