‘The Beast’: Idris Elba vs. a lion in the trailer for Baltasar Kormákur’s new survival story – CINEMABLEND

We spoke with the director of ‘Everest’ and ‘A la deriva’ about his latest project. Shot in Africa, the film is a metaphor for overcoming family problems.

As a child, Baltasar Kormákur made a notebook with cutouts of photographs of lions. “When I told my parents about my new project, my mom showed me these cutouts of lions in Africa that I made when I was a kid, because I was a kid before the internet. I was going to be a lion researcher in Africa. That was my dream. But my path has been different“, tells the director to SensaCinema.

Instead of going to another continent to study these animals, Kormákur entered the world of cinema. First as an actor. Then as director and producer. And, although he did not become a zoologist, his latest project has led him to fulfill that dream he had as a child: “Something inside you knows what you want to do. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it was something I’ve had inside since I was a child”.

The beast It is the director’s last film. Born in 1966 in Reykjavík (Iceland), to a Spanish father and an Icelandic mother, Kormákur will soon premiere his new film and Universal Pictures just posted the first trailer. In The beastIdris Elba is a widowed father who travels to Africa with his daughters to recover his relationship with them, but everything gets complicated when a lion starts chasing them.

As Kormakur jokes:

For me, a film about family is a survival film because you have to survive the family.

This project came into his life when the world was falling apart. The coronavirus crisis began in 2020 and the director was shooting the Netflix series at the time Katla. Like all other productions, fiction had to stop. “I was very frustrated, but two weeks later I convinced Netflix to start over. I think I was one of the first in the world to start shooting again”, remember. While the pandemic continued to affect the planet, the director found his next film. “I read it and thought: Africa, Idris Elba, lions… That hits me”.

If something characterizes Kormákur as a director, it is his taste for transferring survival stories to the big screen. He did it in 2015 with Everest telling the true story of an expedition that ended with tragic consequences. In 2018 he directed Adrifta drama about the sailor Tami Oldham Ashcraft, who survived 41 days adrift. Now, in 2022, it is her turn The beast.

“I come from a country that looks like a survival movie”, Kormákur tells about the attraction he finds in stories of this type and what it means to live in Iceland. “All those elements are very close to me: the weather, the volcanoes, the changes… It’s a big part of our history, of who we are. In Iceland, when you’re young, you think: ‘Who the hell decided to come to this country?’ But at the same time you love him“.


When he got to work on The beastKormákur decided that he wanted to carry out the filming on real sets. “I love the sense of belonging. So when I was offered this project, I wanted to be in Africa. I explored the whole country because I wanted to have its essence”.

And, in addition to soaking up the scenes of Africa, he also sought to get personally involved with The beast turning Elba’s character’s struggle into a metaphor for her own life.

As Kormakur recounts:

That is something that I have gone through in my private life and I felt that the beast is that challenge. The biggest challenge I have overcome in my life is being there for my children and making things right again after difficult times. I like that metaphor. In the movie it’s a real lion, but for me, to give it more meaning, it’s about getting through the toughest times and coming out of them stronger.

Elba in the title role of a Kormákur film was something that had to happen sooner or later. “Idris and I have talked about working together for a long time. It was an easy connection,” she says. “It’s like my brother”he jokes

Kormákur highlights from Elba that contrast that supposes its “masculinity”but also “his sensitivity and his vulnerable personality”. “He’s one of these actors who are fantastic actors and they’re also movie stars. That doesn’t always go hand in hand. He’s like Denzel Washington to me,” he adds.


When shooting the film, Kormákur faced a great challenge: creating the leading lion.

As he confesses:

It was one of those challenges that I welcome because I had never done anything at that level. He had done things with special effects, but he had never done an animal of that caliber.

The director admits that he loved studying the anatomy of the lion, its movements and how they attack. “We worked from real footage, and to make the challenge even more difficult, I decided to shoot everything on real locations”, he points out. The director tells us that he is currently in the UK finishing the special effects.

Kormákur not only loves challenges, but also changes. When asked about how he sees the film industry after the coronavirus crisis, the director believes that a balance is being reached and is optimistic. “It’s a good time. I love changes. I don’t like being in a world where nothing changes. I like changes in the power structure because that’s when opportunities arise.”.

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