BEAST: A new apex predator arrives to theaters this August 19
Human vs. beast stories are as primal, thrilling and indelible as stories themselves. The Greek myths of Theseus vs. the Minotaur. Perseus vs. Medusa. Famous novels such as Moby Dick and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. And, of course, movies like Jaws, King Kong, Anaconda, Jurassic Park and Stephen King’s Cujo. So, when executive producer Jaime Primak Sullivan called up blockbuster producer Will Packer with the idea of making “Cujo with a lion,” Packer immediately said yes. “I thought it was such a fascinating idea,” Will Packer says. “We had to figure out what the story was going to be, who the characters were, how we were going to make it all meld together, but the idea of a lion and a survival thriller got my juices flowing.”
What begins as a journey of healing jolts into a fearsome fight for survival when a lion, a survivor of blood-thirsty poachers who now sees all humans as the enemy, begins stalking them. The British actor, Idris Elba, plays Dr. Nate Daniels, a father who returns to South Africa with his two teenage daughters but suddenly, they find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion who intends to prove that the savannah has one apex predator. This is a creature so fierce he’s given the nickname “El Diablo.”
But not everything is what we think, during the script-development process, the team also discovered the life-and-death battles that lions themselves face from poachers and introduced that narrative into the script. “On the human front, you think of folks who are trapped in an impossible situation, fighting for their lives, doing anything they can to survive this threat,” Packer says. “But it is also a self-preservation examination of the lion. When hunters forcefully separate out alpha lions by killing other members of their pack, they create rogue lions. So this film is also an examination of what happens when a rogue lion discovers who the real enemy is: humans ourselves.”
About Dr. Nate Samuels (Idris Elba)
Even though he left the savannah to build a new life in the States with his wife, Dr. Nate Samuels, played by Idris Elba, is a child of South Africa. He dreams of the wild beauty of the savannah, and when he returns to his homeland with his two daughters, Meredith and Norah, to pay homage to his late wife, Nate feels life finally coming full circle.
From the moment they were born, Nate has loved his two daughters with everything he had and knew how to give. But it wasn’t working with his wife, and they knew that they had to separate. When she was diagnosed with cancer, the physician who had long used his hands to heal others could not save the one he cherished the most. Now, trapped in a game reserve with only his instincts to guide them, Nate has to survive for his girls to live. If that is to happen, Meredith and Norah must learn to trust him again.
Elba, whose history with producer Will Packer extends back to 2007’s This Christmas and 2009’s Obsessed, was intrigued and inspired by the screenplay and its ambition. “Will and I both like to find projects that stretch us,” Elba says. “When he brought me this script, I was like, ‘Really, Will? Okay. We’re going here…’ We’ve done thrillers before, but this steps into a different realm. That was super exciting, and the script was not only good, but it was also very fulfilling. This film just got better as we got together as a collective. Baltasar added and enriched what was good about it already. It was a no-brainer for me.”
And he’s eager for audiences to experience it. “I think it’s a first,” Elba says. “We’ve seen films where the antagonist is a beast or an animal and our heroes are being chased, but this has a dynamic that merges both a family dynamic that we are invested in…alongside the thriller aspects. The thrill ride doesn’t stop.”
You cannot miss BEAST in theaters this August 19, 2022. Purchase your tickets here: www.beastmovie.com