INTERVIEW: Sharlto Copley, Martin Munro, Naledi Mogadime and Kazi Khuboni.
Beast, now showing in cinemas across the country, stars Idris Elba, and SA's very own Sharlto Copley, Martin Munro, Naledi Mogadime and Kazi Khuboni.
In the film, Elba's Dr Nate Samuels returns to South Africa after the death of his wife. At a game reserve managed by Martin Battles (Copley), his journey home takes a turn when he has to protect his family against a massive rogue lion intent on proving the savannah can have only one apex predator.
The movie was shot entirely in South Africa, with the country's beautiful landscapes on display for the world to see. At the red carpet event on Thursday at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, Copley, Mogadime, Munro, and Khuboni tell us about their experiences filming on location – and the importance of showcasing the very best of South Africa on screen, both in terms of our beautiful vistas and plains as well as our local talent.
'An international perspective'
Naledi Mogadime chats to us on the red carpet. The star makes her film debut in Beast, playing Idris Elba's wife.
"Let's talk about that," she jokes.
"I find it absolutely incredible that I've had the opportunity to work on this project because I can't make this up. You know, I tried my best, and I did my best. And I'm about to see my best work. And that's how I'm taking it," she says. "There's so much growth that has happened since I worked on this project. I had to release doubt because we live in South Africa, where opportunities like this are near and far, bro[sic]. So I'm very grateful. I feel stronger. I'm grateful to see the project, and I'm ready to receive whatever it brings."
Mogadime says of filming on location in South Africa: "I feel like when we do movies in our own home, and it's an international film like this, you obviously pray that like, you know, your country is going to be represented in a beautiful way. Fortunately for us, we shot in the most beautiful parts of our country. We did Cape Town, Limpopo; we did Northern Cape, very, very natural. Like guys, we have a very beautiful country. And I can't wait for South Africans to see our country from a different perspective, from an international perspective. It's going to be beautiful."
'Come out and see us – there's a lot to see'
Kazi Khuboni plays a pilot in the film. She's worked with Idris Elba before; however, this time is quite different.
"I worked with him on The Dark Tower in 2017 when he was filming here with Matthew McConaughey," she tells us on the red carpet. "I worked with him as a PA, a production assistant at the time. I was getting his coffee in the morning, having small interactions with him. So for him to remember me from then, and now being on the other side of the screen with him, was super exciting."
Asked about filming in South Africa, she teases: "Listen, there's plains in South Africa like you've never seen before. We shot all the way up in Upington, and it wasn't even Upington. It was about 45 minutes outside of Upington. And as the eye can see, it's nothing but beautiful plains. And it's absolutely incredible.
"I don't see why you'd want to shoot anywhere else but in South Africa. All of those plains. It just shows just how much beauty there is in this place. It's not seen as well as it should be, but I definitely think it's going to be on the world map now."
'The soul of the country'
For Sharlto Copley, taking on South African projects is a no-brainer.
"My country is obviously very close to me," he tells us at the premiere. "And every chance that I get, I'm always trying to play South African characters. So as soon as there was an opportunity like this to be involved in a movie where I could host people like Idris and Will Packer, who was a producer on the film, and Baltasar [Kormákur], who is this crazy, crazy talented Icelandic Viking director, I jumped at that."
Copley, who found international success, says he's "so glad to be home".
"I miss the soul of the country," he tells us.
"I know I would need longer than a quick interview like this to explain what I mean, but it's a very tangible and real thing to me."