BY RAMIN SETOODEH (Variety)
Idris Elba nearly plunged to his death filming Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation. The indie drama, about an African tyrant known as “the commandant” who recruits an innocent boy into his army of youth soldiers, took Elba into the depths of Ghana’s jungles for a guerrilla-like shoot. One afternoon, as the actor waited for the next scene, he leaned against a tree overlooking a waterfall, lost his footing and fell over the ledge. Luckily, there was a narrow ridge that saved him from a 90-foot drop.
“I remember slipping and catching onto this big branch that was sticking up, and I literally was like, ‘Whoa!’ ” recalls Elba. “It was a moment where I was like, ‘This is the real deal.’ ”
“Beasts of No Nation” wasn’t just a high-stakes, death-defying production for its cast and crew. It’s also a dive off the cliff for Netflix, which acquired the movie for a whopping $12 million last winter, as part of a plan to upend the conventions of the film business in the same way it has transformed traditional TV viewing with original series such as “Orange Is the New Black,” “House of Cards” and “Daredevil.”