Idris Elba has been cast in Beast, a survival thriller set in Africa about a predatory lion (which is not to be confused with his 2015 film Beasts of No Nation).
Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur will helm the project for Universal Pictures, which is based on an original idea by Jaime Primak-Sullivan, with the script written by Ryan Engle, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The storyline has not been publicised, but Beast is being reported to be similar in tone to the 2016 Blake Lively film, The Shallows, about a shark stalking a surfer which is, of course, a riff on the greatest survival thriller of them all, Jaws (1975).
Engle also wrote the script for the 2017 Dwayne Johnson thriller set in Africa, Rampage, which also told the story of a human versus animal battle, although those animals had been chemically altered in a rogue genetic experiment.
Kormakur made series of gritty thrillers in his home country before making a name for himself internationally making people-against-the-element thrillers such as 2015’s Everest and, more recently, Adrift, an oceanic drama that starred Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin.
It won’t be Elba’s first scrape with felines, of course. He managed to survive the 2019 catastrophe of Cats, and has subsequently filmed Concrete Cowboy, a family drama about urban horseback riding, as well as having wrapped James Gunn’s DC movie The Suicide Squad, in which he plays the villainous Bloodsport, a sworn enemy of Superman. That is expected to be released on 6th August 2021.
Beside Beast, the recent special recognition BAFTA recipient Elba will also be making the feature-length version of his dark BBC One detective drama Luther.
Speaking about the Luther movie recently, Elba said: “With a film, the sky is the limit. Obviously you can sort of be a little bit more bold with the storylines, maybe international, a little bit more up the scale, but John Luther is always going to be John Luther.”