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The Hollywood Insider Beast Idris Elba

Photo: ‘Beast’

Idris Elba is also universally known as the actor who stars in blockbuster and franchise films like ‘Hobbs and Shaw,’ and his past roles of Heimdall, a sole guardian and Thor’s best friend in the ‘Thor’ movies. Additionally, he has been well-known for being an actor who would be willing to work on personal films by portraying Nelson Mandela in ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Fame’ and acting as a commandant in ‘Beast of No Nation’ – a war drama that focuses on a boy who is child soldier of a civil war that takes place in an African country. Now, Idris takes the challenge of starring in an adventure-horror film ‘Beast.’The movie is directed by Baltasar Kormakur. In the past, Baltasar made the survival drama film ‘Adrift’ which focused on a couple (played by Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin) who are far adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a damaged boat because of the result of a hurricane.  Before that movie, he directed the action comedy film, ‘2 Guns,’ starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.

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‘Beast’ was written by Ryan Engle (who wrote ‘Rampage’, a Dwayne Johnson monster movie ), and Jaime Primak Sullivan came up with the movie’s story. Both had a history of working together by teaming up on the 2018 film ‘Breaking In,’ which focused on a mother who fights to protect her family during a home invasion, which takes place at her newly departed father’s mansion. The screenplay was also written by Ryan Engle as well as the story credit was given by Jaime Primak Sullivan. Both the writers came up with another story of a parent that is dealing with the loss of a loved one and is now in the position of helping their children to survive a terrible ordeal. Since the director of ‘Beast’ has experience with making a survival drama, he decided to experiment with survival and adventure-horror.

The Rise of Idris Elba

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The Drama Behind the Story

Dr. Nate Samuels is a widowed father from New York who decides to take both of his daughters Meredith and Nora (played by Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries) to their deceased mother’s countryside hometown in Africa for their mother’s wake. Along the way, the protagonist meets the park ranger and wife’s childhood friend Martin Battles (played by Sharlto Copely) who serves as a guide to protect the family from the dangers of the environment. Martin is also the savanna’s guardian for other lions that are being chased by poachers.  

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‘Beast’ Full Premiere Reactions

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‘Beast’ – Behind the Scenes

‘Beast’ – The Combination of Horror and Adventure

The family’s trip becomes a nightmare as soon as they find out that a small village has been massacred. It does not take long for them to find out that the beast is a rabid lion and they are out to get revenge on the other humans who hunted and poached his pride  that roamed the grasslands. The film does a good job establishing the symbolic duality of Nate Samuels and the lion’s intentions in the story. Nate wants to go to his ex-wife’s hometown for the sake of his family’s grief and is interrupted by a primal hunter, the lion who seeks retaliation for the death of his own pride. The story also creates awareness of how lions can feel wrath the same way that a human can. Even though it is one lion that is causing havoc, it still gives us the same thrills and character backgrounds that will remind others of Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jaws.’ Though it will remind others of the 1996 film, ‘The Ghost and the Darkness’ since the premise is about a bridge engineer and a skilled hunter who hunts two lions that are responsible for attacking construction workers who live locally in Africa.

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The film certainly delivers many thrills even though it is one lion that is terrorizing the savannah. This film certainly knows how to raise the stakes for the characters.  Just like ‘Alien, ‘Anaconda,’ and ‘Lake Placid,’ and Hulu’s latest installment of the ‘Predator’ series ‘Prey,’ the story relies on one creature that puts human beings in danger.

At one moment, Nate Samuels and his two discover themselves trapped in a jeep that seems inoperative. They do not even have access to the outside world for help. The lion will do whatever it takes to maul as many human beings as possible.

‘Beast’ Premiere Reactions

Even though the lion is made from CGI, it looks very convincing. Nowadays, most films require chase scenes, explosions, or even fight scenes that require a lot of CGI that look very distracting or unconvincing. Here in ‘Beast,’ the CGI does not feel out of place. The way it chases its victims in the savannahs makes us feel at the edge of our seats. The camera work is brilliant since there are moments of tracking shots that make us feel the suspenseful moments of danger for the characters who face the raging lion.

Related article: The Rise of Idris Elba: A Tribute to the Path-Breaking Leading Man

In Conclusion

Idris Elba is the perfect choice being the grief-stricken protagonist who wants to have a trip that will give him and his daughters a sense of closure because of their loved one’s passing. He is a very good actor who shows passion for his cinematic performances, no matter what genre he is in. Sharlto Copely does a good job of being a supportive and knowledgeable character. Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries both gave strong performances as the daughters who are also in the face of danger which makes us feel uneasy during the scenes of peril. The film is 90 minutes long. The script is very straightforward and uncomplicated. We all know who the characters are and their purpose in the grasslands. It is a well-crafted adventure horror that will make audiences even think twice about messing with lions.

By Marco Castaneda

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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