Idris Elba said it “felt special” to bring Beast’s premiere to the area where he grew up – saying he went “from Hackney to Hollywood”.
The 49-year-old actor stars in the new thriller about a father and two teenage daughters being hunted by lions while on vacation in the savannah.
Elba returned to South Africa to film the blockbuster, after filming the television series Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom in the country in 2013.
He told the PA news agency: “I feel like an honorable South African to go there for 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 its premiere at Hackney Picturehouse on Wednesday with the support of guest stars, including British rapper Stormzy, who he hugs when he arrives.
“Not too far from here, I grew up on the Dalston Highway,” Elba said. I would never have imagined that one day I would bring a movie I’m working on and help back into the city. It feels very special. I’m proud of it.
“From Hackney to Hollywood.”
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, is very technical, hard, layered and slow – really slow – just to get it right,” he said.
Video of the day
“The lion is amazing. When you saw it, it was, ‘Wow’, but I remember doing layers carefully to make that happen. “
Speaking of playing a grieving husband, he added: “Everybody has experienced some kind of loss, but in this case it was about figuring out what the family dynamics are – the kids. children and the loss of their parents and how hard it was for them. relationship.”
Elba’s real-life daughter Isan auditioned for the role of his on-screen daughter, but the character was reprised by This Is Us star Iyana Halley and Empire’s Leah Sava Jeffries.
Director Baltasar Kormakur told PA: “We didn’t choose a second name, we chose who would fit the role.
“Even though it’s his daughter, she’s not necessarily right for that particular girl of that age.”
Kormakur, director of Everest, 2 Guns and Contraband, said he shot the film in a way that felt “non-stop” before talking about the challenges of shooting in the wilderness.
“There was a hyena biting a cable in the middle of the night… I almost got run over by an elephant outside my house,” he said.
“I am a challenge addict. There was nothing in me when I was offered a lion movie with Idris Elba that I would say no.”
Elba added: “There was a chain of ponds and there seemed to be a snake roaming in there that they couldn’t get out of. I had to get in the water anyway, so I said, ‘If it catches me, it will catch me’. Some say, ‘I’m not going anywhere near it’. “
Kormakur said working with Elba was “wonderful.”
“He is one of the good guys. He is a great actor and movie star. He has the whole package and for this movie he is playing a vulnerable father who is facing a lion. He needed the whole range and he brought that to the screen,” he said.
The film also stars Sharlto Copley as wildlife biologist Martin Battles, which was adapted for the screen by Ryan Engle from the original story by Jaime Primak Sullivan.
Producer Will Packer told PA: “I love the fact that this movie is about poaching and it’s also about family, because Idris plays a father who has a strained relationship with his daughters. and I think that’s something we can all learn from debut. of this pandemic.
“Everybody goes through tough times and sometimes close relationships can become strained. At the end of the day, family is something you have to rely on and is the most important thing and this movie takes that into consideration.”
Beast opens in UK cinemas on August 26.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/idris-elba-proud-to-bring-blockbuster-beast-back-to-the-borough-for-premiere-41935335.html Idris Elba proudly brings blockbuster Beast ‘back to the district’ for premiere