Beast star recalls incident with escaped lion on Idris Elba movie

Upcoming survival thriller Beast sees Idris Elba do battle against a rogue man-hunting lion – and according to co-star Sharlto Copley, the cast almost thought they’d have to fend off a real lion themselves.

Although all of the animals that appear in the film are computer generated, director Baltasar Kormákur decided to have a real one brought to set one day such that he could work out how to realistically capture it using CGI.

And speaking exclusively to, District 9 star Copley recalls how a miscommunication meant a number of the cast and crew ended up spending time hiding in their trailers.

„You know how these miscommunications can happen very quickly,“ he says. „So the lion is on a separate unit – they’re shooting it as a reference, the animation unit is shooting it to see how fur moves and getting the lion in different positions, doing all sorts of crazy stuff.

„Anyway, I come out of my trailer, I’m literally walking out and I just hear somebody going like ‚Get the f**k back inside‘. And instinctively I close the door, I think like is there a riot? Is there something – we’re in the middle of nowhere – like what’s happening? And the guy’s like ‚There’s a lion in base camp!‘

„Base camp is where all the trailers are,“ Copley continues. „We’re like 20 minutes from set by car because we’re shooting in the middle of nowhere and then for about an hour and a half, we thought that there was a lion walking around our trailers, and everyone’s trying to look for where is the lion.

„And every now and then somebody comes back from set to the base camp and would walk in and wouldn’t know. And people would go, like, ‚Get in a trailer!‘ And then they’d sort of look at us, like, what are you doing? And we’d be like ‚There’s a lion!‘ And then they’d run… it was crazy.“

He adds: „The Universal executives were telling me last night, this is the worst case scenario for a movie about lions, if somebody gets eaten right now, like, just keep everybody away from this lion.“

Thankfully, though, it eventually came to light that the incident had been blown out of proportion and the cast and crew had never really been in any danger from the animal.

„It was actually fine,“ Copley explains. „The lion was 10 kilometers away! It was being transported when it escaped. And they caught it and put it back and it was no issue.“

Beast is released in UK cinemas on Friday 26th August 2022. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.

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