A Live Lion Got Loose On The Set Of Idris Elba's Beast, A Movie About A Live Lion On The Loose

Everyone loves a good animal attack movie, and thanks to decades of technological advancements, we can enjoy these films knowing no animals or humans were harmed in the making of the film. In the upcoming film "Beast," Idris Elba stars as a recently widowed father who takes his two teenage daughters to a South African game reserve, only to find themselves trapped in survival mode when the family becomes the target of a wild lion who recently escaped from poachers. The good news is that the lion didn't get killed and skinned by wealthy, terrible human beings who desperately need a new hobby, but the bad news is that this lion is now furious. It's now up to Elba to keep himself and his daughters alive, and not human-sized snacks.

Of course, the folks at Universal weren't going to put any actors at risk by acting opposite of an actual, vicious lion, but that isn't to say real lions weren't involved in the film's production. An interview in the August issue of Total Film with the film's director Baltasar Kormákur ("The Sea," "Contraband," "Everest") revealed that after hiring some of the best CGI artists in the business, Kormákur called upon Academy Award winner Alejandro González Iñárritu ("Babel," "Birdman," "The Revenant") for some advice. Iñárritu told him to try and get a lion on set to reference how the light falls on the fur, and shockingly, the studio agreed to have the lion on set.

Despite all his rage, the lion got out of the cage

Kormákur's son served as the second unit director of photography on "Beast," and was tasked with hopping in the lion's cage to shoot reference scenes. "That's the kind of father I am," Kormákur joked. If putting his own son in a lion's cage wasn't horrifying enough, Kormákur confessed that the lion didn't stay in the cage. "I'm not sure I'm allowed to say this, but [the lion] got out at one point, and there was a little bit of panic on set!" Fortunately no one was harmed and the team was able to get all of the shots they needed, but the idea of a live lion casually strutting around a film set is a thing of nightmares.

It's hard not to immediately think of "Roar" from 1981, the ill-advised family adventure film from "The Exorcist" producer Noel Marshall, featuring his at-the-time wife Tippi Hedren and her daughter Melanie Griffith. For the uninitiated, the film featured an estimated 150 untrained and uncaged big cats. Marshall also starred in the film and is often shown actively bleeding on screen after a lion has swiped him. The film's re-release tagline read "No animals were harmed in the making of this movie. 70 members of the cast and crew were." Thankfully, "Beast" was smart enough not to pull a ridiculous stunt like that, and we'll all get the chance to enjoy Idris Elba fighting a digital lion without any lingering guilt.

"Beast" hits theaters on August 19, 2022.