Behind the Beast

06 March 2023
Taking a look at the making of Beast.

Your Sunday night movie Beast tells a tale of horror and survival. The movie stars Idris Elba as Dr Nate Samuels, a widowed American wildlife biologist visiting a South African game reserve with his two young daughters. All hell breaks loose when they encounter a rogue lion that begins to hunt them. Trapped in the lion’s territory Dr Nate and his daughters have to awaken their survival instincts and find a way out.

The location
The movie was filmed in South Africa. Locations included Limpopo and Cape Town. The final showdown scene was filmed in the Northern Cape, on the border with Namibia.

The shooting
The film’s directors and producers opted to shoot in the bush to capture the realism of the lion’s territory. This also gave them the opportunity to have wider shots for panoramic views of the bush. The crew wanted everything to be as real as possible and when they were unable to locate a water hole for one of the scenes, they created one by drilling and pumping up water. The crew faced hot, harsh conditions, as did the cast. This resulted in real, sweat-drenched scenes.

The blood
The movie has blood, lots of blood! It was made out of a mixture of glucose, glycerine, and food colouring. The special effects team played around with the mixture for fresh blood scenes and dry blood scenes to create the perfect look.

The Beast
The lion was first modelled on CGI and then the team built a real-life model. Each piece of the lion was designed separately, from the head and mane to the paws and trunk of the body. A team of stunt players wore these pieces and carried out the movements of the lion. Other stunt players wore grey suits for some of the scenes, so the actors had something to play against. For example: during a running scene, a stunt player in a grey suit would chase the actor so they could have the feeling of being chased for real.

All of this was magnificently put together with CGI effects to form the final scenes. South African creature movement specialist Owen Macrae brought his expertise to the film and played most of the parts of the beast of the title, perfectly capturing its movements.

Be afraid, be very afraid. Beast is roaring onto your screens this Sunday at 20:05 on M-Net 101.

Watch the trailer here:

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