Filming of Idris Elba’s Beast nearly derailed after unleashed lion causes ‘panic’ on set

A lion escaped on the film set of Beast starring Idris (Picture: Universal Studios)

Actors are advised to never work with children or animals and fornew film that may have been worth sticking to.

Beast is a survival epic which follows a recently widowed husband (Idris) as he returns to the game reserve in South Africa, where he met his late wife, with his two children.

But the long-planned trip takes a turn for the word when a man-hunting lion begins attacking them and devouring anyone in its path, pushing the family’s resilience to the limit.

And it seemed life imitated art when director took a leap of faith and decided to bring a lion on set.

At one point the big cat managed to escape and was roaming around freely, although no one was harmed.

Baltasar told Total Film: ‘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!’

L-R: Nathan (Idris Elba), Martin (Sharlto Copley), Mare (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Sava Jeffries) in Beast (Picture: Universal Pictures)

The lion came about because Baltasar asked fellow director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who was behind The Revenant, how to capture the creature realistically on CGI.

Though a little unorthodox, Alejandro’s response was to source a real lion and note down how the light fell on its fur while on set.

Baltasar explained: ‘So I went to the studio and said, ‘Can I have a lion on set?’ The ­answer, improbably, was “yes”.’

Idris with Baltasar on the set of Beast (Picture: Universal Pictures)
Beast is an epic survival film (Picture: Universal Pictures)

Idris, 49, overhauled his diet to get in shape for Beast, with his personal chef revealing how the actor got fighting fit for the role.

, King The Chef revealed he was flown out to South Africa to feed the actor as he filmed intensive 12-hour days. 

Beast looks like a nail biter (Picture: Universal Pictures)
Idris changed his diet for the role (Picture: Getty)

He said: ‘That filming period was three months so we altered his diet a few times.

‘I had him on a pescatarian diet for that, we introduced a lot of protein more than carb-rich [food] just because he wanted to keep lean – not too lean – just enough to be able to look the part.

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