Netflix buys rights to Idris Elba’s Beasts of No Nation

The Luther star turns warlord in the Oscar-tipped flick which will debut simultaneously in select US cinemas and Netflix worldwide

Already being hailed as a “career-defining” performance, Idris Elba is turning warlord in the upcoming adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s novel Beasts of No Nation.

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The film, which delves into the life of child soldier Agu (Abraham Attah), torn from his family to learn the ways of war with Commandant (Elba), is going to debut simultaneously in select US cinemas and worldwide on Netflix.

The move naturally opens it up to more viewers, and the decision to release it in cinemas, as well as on the paid-for streaming service, ensures it’s eligible for consideration by the academy – a move that hints at Netflix’s hopes to make a splash during next year’s movie awards season.

“Making this film has been one of the most profound professional experiences of our careers. Everyone, from Cary to our production assistants, sacrificed so much to make this film authentically in West Africa, where Uzo’s story was set,” said Daniela Taplin Lundberg, co-founder of Red Crown Productions.

“To know that this harrowing and beautiful movie is going to reach more than 50 million people within Netflix’s reach is beyond our wildest dreams. The Netflix team is bold and has the same pioneering spirit about distribution that I like to think we had about making the film in the jungles of Ghana.”

Cary Fukunaga is in the directing chair, with an Emmy under his belt for his work on last year’s critically acclaimed anthology series True Detective.

“There are hundreds of thousands of children fighting as soldiers in conflicts around the world and with Beasts of No Nation, Cary has succeeded in humanising their terrible struggle with an incredibly emotional story and brilliant filmmaking built around Idris Elba and Abraham Attah’s performances,” said Jonathan King at Participant Media who are co-financing the project.

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Elba is currently filming the upcoming Luther two-part special. Beasts of No Nation will release later this year.