The Extreme Lengths Beast’s Prosthetics Team Went To In Order To Create Those Gnarly Lion Wounds

Idris Elba retreats in fear in his car in Beast.
(Image credit: Lauren Mulligan/Universal Pictures)

There have been several 2022 new movie releases that have given audiences some of the most terrifying spectacles in recent memory, including Jordan Peele’s UFO thriller Nope and Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey, the latter of which took the Predator franchise back to the very beginning. Another movie that saw humans being chased and sometimes viciously attacked by a massively terrifying beast was Baltasar Kormákur’s Beast, which featured its fair share of drama, action and some gnarly and visceral gore.

The movie, which followed Idris Elba’s Dr. Nate Samuels as he protected his two daughters from a hellacious lion, carries an R-rating and features gore that is not only up there with some all-time greats, it also looks frighteningly realistic. That’s all thanks to attention to detail of the movie’s prosthetics team.

In the bonus features that accompany the home release of Beast, which is now out digitally and on physical media from Universal Pictures, Prosthetics Supervisor Clinton Smith broke down the extreme lengths he and his team went to make the movie’s lion wounds look so realistic. While there was some digital effects used to touch up some of the wounds, the lion’s share of the process was done by hand the old-fashioned way, which included combining hair, various make-up practices, and some incredibly detailed props.

But before the team could start making the various wounds and contraptions used to bring them to life, they first had to conduct a great deal of research to make it look as realistic as possible:

We create wounds according to how the animal locks onto the body. The research we have to do is real references — bite wounds on human or other animals. The lion is much bigger than traditional lions, so the puncture wounds are way more intense.

The lion featured in the movie, which was the highlight for many critics, including CinemaBlend's Eric Eisenberg (as seen in his Beast review), isn’t your everyday apex predator. Instead, this is a massive ungodly creature created for the big screen, which made things more intense for the prosthetics team and actors involved in the scenes.

Sharlto Copley’s Martin Battles is just one of the characters on the receiving end of the Beast’s terrifying attack sequences, and the team went above and beyond to make the aftermath as vicious and lifelike as possible. After having his leg slashed open just when the movie starts to pick up the pace, the biologist is forced to cauterize his own wound to prevent bleeding out. The way Assistant Prosthetics Supervisor Daleen Badenhorst created the prop used in the scene made it all the more realistic:

I had to, with a very fine needle, punch all the little hairs into the skin. When they had to cauterize the wounds, some of the hair got singed, which just adds to the realism.

With the wound being in line with one of the main arteries, the prop called for a system that could pump a large amount of blood in a short amount of time. To do this, the team developed a system of rigs underneath the fake skin that would then pump blood to increase the believability.

The story of how the prosthetics team made the gore and lion wounds in Beast so gnarly is just a small portion of the behind-the-scenes details revealed on the Beast home release. You can pick up a copy for yourself, either digitally or on physical media on Amazon. Beast is also one of the 2022 movies streaming and can be watched with a Peacock Premium subscription, but that won’t grant you access to stories of how the movie came to be.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.