×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Beast Release Date, Cast, And Plot - What We Know So Far

Now that Universal has officially given its upcoming survival thriller, Baltasar Kormákur's "Beast," a premiere date, fans of Idris Elba (of "Luther," "Beasts of No Nation," and "Thor" fame) have a whole new reason to get excited about a potential return to relative theatergoing normalcy next summer. Written by Ryan Engle ("The Commuter") with an original story by Jaime Primak Sullivan, the film was shot on location in South Africa "during a 10-week shoot in the rural provinces of Limpopo and Northern Cape and in the city of Cape Town" (via Deadline). The film will reunite Sullivan and Engle, who worked together on the Gabrielle Union thriller "Breaking In."

This news should help to satiate Elba fans as they await the release of the "Luther" film on Netflix — a continuation of the beloved BBC detective series which Collider reports will officially begin shooting this November — since "Beast" will ensure that there'll be no shortage of the acclaimed actor. But how long will fans have to wait for Elba's upcoming (and ominously titled) film with Kormákur, and what will it be about?

Beast will hit theaters late next summer

Deadline reports that the anticipated survival thriller — headed up by "2 Guns" director and "Katla" producer Baltasar Kormákur — is set to hit theaters on August 19th, 2022, which means it will debut with very little in the way of direct competition (excluding any reshuffling or delays of other release dates, but that's a whole other topic). Since many of the most acclaimed survival blockbusters in recent history — e.g., "Cast Away," "The Revenant," and "The Martian," to name a few — have been released either in the fall or dead of winter (perhaps as a means of highlighting all that isolation), it's an interesting choice for the studio — though to be fair, there's something about releasing a savanna-based man versus nature movie in the middle of August that does feel right. The biggest potential competitor it may bump up against is arguably 2022's most anticipated movie, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," slated to hit theaters a little more than a month prior.

However, with no big studio releases set for that specific weekend, "Beast" boasts an all-star cast that should have no trouble at all drawing a crowd. Considering the narrative revolves mainly around just three people — well, and one lion — to what degree the film succeeds will largely depend on both the talent and star power of that cast. 

Beast brings some well-known television faces to the big screen

In addition to landing 2018's Sexiest Man Alive as its lead, Baltasar Kormákur's film casts "This is Us" star Iyana Halley and "Empire" star Leah Jeffries as Elba's daughters. Halley, who also starred alongside Amy Adams in HBO's "Sharp Objects," will play Dr. Nate Samuels' eighteen year-old daughter Meredith, while Jeffries will play his thirteen year-old daughter Norah.  

South African actor Sharlto Copley ("District 9," "Russian Doll") completes the film's micro-cast in the role of Samuels' close friend Martin Battles (via Deadline). Copley recently starred as Ted Kaczynski in director Tony Stone's "Ted K," a semi-impressionistic take on the biopic genre that Variety applauds for resisting the urge to "crack" or "psychologize" its subject. The outlet's Guy Lodge calls Copley's performance "vivid" and  "committed," noting that he makes "the man of a million headlines seem appreciably human, but not approachably so." 

There's no word yet on who will star as the lion, but whoever they are, it's clear they'll be surrounded by a whole lot of talent, both in front of and behind the camera.

The Beast plot reunites Kormákur with a genre he knows well

As far as the plot goes, "Beast" follows Elba's character (Nate Samuels) as he fights to protect himself and his two young daughters from a predatory, poacher-wary lion after he brings his family to a game reserve owned by his wildlife biologist friend Martin (Copley). In the wake of the death of their matriarch, the family retreats to South Africa — the country where Samuels and his deceased wife first met — and, as Deadline's Anthony D'Allesandro phrases it, "what begins as a journey of healing jolts into a fearsome fight for survival." 

That all sounds about right for Baltasar Kormákur, who was no stranger to the survival film genre well before taking on this tale of potentially man-eating lions. The director, writer, and producer was also behind 2012's "The Deep," 2015's "Everest," and 2018's "Adrift," all of which involve characters struggling to maintain their humanity and sanity and stay alive in the face of the apathetic forces of nature. While Sullivan and Bernard Bellew will executive produce, Kormákur joins the production team via his own RVK Studios, alongside Will Packer and James Lopez of Will Packer Productions (via The Economic Times).

While fighting for survival against a literal beast in the savannas of South Africa is a far cry from manning the rainbow bridge and guarding the gates to Asgard (or, for that matter, solving baffling crimes in London) the action in "Beast" promises to be no less intense and immediate. Luckily, the wait for the film grows ever shorter as the summer of 2021 comes to an end.