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The Shocking Reason Idris Elba's Daughter Wasn't Cast In Beast

Hollywood is littered with some of the biggest names on the planet battling nature. While "Jaws" set the standard for man vs. beast, numerous films and franchises have built around the trope. From the grandiose scale of the King Kong franchise to the much smaller world of back jungles and anaconda snakes, these are some of the most thrilling films in the animal-attack genre.

Of course, one of the most classic man vs. beast matchups pits the most advanced animal on the planet up against the king of the jungle. You have the classic Val Kilmer/Michael Douglas film, "The Ghost in the Darkness." On the other end of the spectrum is the maligned "Rogue," featuring Megan Fox as a special operator evading a lion during a rescue mission. This weekend, Idris Elba takes his swing (literally) at the genre with "Beast."

The film follows Nate Samuels (Elba) and his two daughters as they visit the Savannah after their mother's death. Once there, they are stalked by a rogue lion and other dangers as Samuels fights to protect his children from one of the most hostile environments on Earth. While this may sound like a thrilling adventure, at least one person with a surprisingly close connection to Elba may not be seeing it with the same joy as others.

Idris Elba's daughter didn't make the cut

According to an interview Elba did on the morning show "The Breakfast Club," his 20-year-old daughter auditioned for the role. Isan Elba auditioned for the role of his daughter in the film but, oddly enough, didn't get it. It is hard to imagine that an actress couldn't get the part of the daughter of someone being portrayed by their father — that had to be a hard pill to swallow.

However, Elba explained why she didn't get the part. "She wants to be an actress, and she auditioned. And you know, it came down to chemistry in the end." The actor continued, "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."

You would think that the father/daughter relationship would easily come to a real-life father and his daughter, but the film's producer, Will Packer, agreed with Elba's statements. "She was very good, very close," he said. "Idris is right, some of the nuances of that real-life relationship sometimes doesn't translate on screen."

The father/daughter relationship plays a big part in the film

There is an interesting dynamic created by the story of his daughter not making the cut, as family and the relationship between a father and his children is the film's center. Of course, it is a thrilling ride of people in danger of a man-killer, but Packer talked to Variety about the balance he sought in the film. "I loved the idea that it just happens to be a Black family in peril," he admitted. "It's not just about man versus beast — it's a man protecting his daughters. It's universal in those themes."

He was also present in the interview with "The Breakfast Club," and the pair spoke about the importance of changing the narrative of Black fathers in media. Elba confessed that he initially turned down the role, but the prospect of playing a single Black father protecting his children changed his mind. "Imagery is important," the director says. "This is Idra playing a father to two daughters, that father/daughter dynamic. That Black father with two Black daughters. They are in peril." He continued, "I am always in my stuff, in my work, going to push the imagery that we don't normally see." 

Even though Idris Elba and Will Packer ultimately decided not to cast Isan as his daughter, she appeared at the premiere and seems to have no hard feelings.