Hollywood has a long tradition of children acting alongside their famous parents. Sometimes the results are wonderful (see: “Paper Moon”), and other times they’re… not (see: “After Earth”). But it always seems to be an experience that famous parents cherish.
So when Idris Elba was looking to cast his onscreen daughter in Baltasar Kormákur’s new lion attack movie “Beast,” it was natural for him to consider his real life 20-year-old daughter. But in a recent appearance on “The Breakfast Club” (via Variety), he revealed that she “wasn’t right” for the part. And unsurprisingly, the decision caused a bit of family tension in the Elba household.
“She wants to be an actress and she auditioned,” Elba said about his daughter. “And you know, it came down to chemistry in the end. You know, my daughter, she was great, but the relationship in the film and the relationship with my daughter was— the chemistry wasn’t right for film, weirdly enough. My daughter didn’t talk to me for about three weeks.”
Will Packer, who produced the film, agreed with Elba’s assessment. “Idris is right, some of the nuances of that real-life relationship sometimes doesn’t translate on screen,” he said.
Even if Elba’s daughter had been cast, it may not have had any effect on the film’s quality. At the end of the day, a movie like “Beast” was always going to be about the beast. In her review of the film, IndieWire’s Kate Erbland wrote that “when Idris Elba fights a lion, you’re going to end up rooting for the lion.”
She added: “That’s no diss on Elba, who remains one of our most charismatic and eminently watchable movie stars. Nor is it a ding against the two talented young actresses (Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries) who play his daughters. Hell, it’s not even a mark against director Baltasar Kormákur’s vision, which is often at its most compelling when the action-centric filmmaker dips his toes into horror territory. It all goes back to the genius idea to pit Elba against a big cat, which Engle kicks off with a horrific feline origin story that can only inspire empathy toward the very angry, very large kitty.”
“Beast” is now playing in theaters.