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Grrr director Jay K explains why Kunchacko Boban’s shoot with the lion from Beast, Yellowstone prequel was risky

Kunchacko Boban shot with the lion from Idris Elba’s Beast for his upcoming Malayalam movie Grrr…

Grrr director Jay K explains why Kunchacko Boban’s shoot with the lion from Beast, Yellowstone prequel was risky
Kunchacko Boban, Luke Cornell with the lion and Idris Elba
  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 11.31 AM, May 16, 2023

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Remember the blood-thirsty lion from Idris Elba’s Beast? The lion, minus the heavy CGI that made for its ferocious appearance in the Hollywood survival thriller, will also feature in Kunchacko Boban’s upcoming slice-of-life comedy titled Grrr.

The team, along with its director Jay K, recently returned from South Africa, where they had shot a few sequences with Kunchacko and the lion as part of the film’s final schedule. In an exclusive chat with OTTplay, Jay tells us that the movie has sequences that are a mix of animatronics, VFX and real shoot.


“We can’t shoot with lions in India, and South Africa has the world's best trained lions. Most of the Hollywood films with animals are also shot there. There’s an animal keeper and actor named Luke Cornell who has this massive farm called CornellSkop,” he says. “We shot with the same lion that was featured in the English series Yellowstone’s prequel 1923 as well as Idris Elba’s Beast. The lion was also part of Akshay Kumar’s Samrat Prithviraj.”

On how they planned the shoot, Jay explains that he had got in touch with Luke through his Bollywood contacts. “We sent him our requirements and explained to him what we were trying to accomplish with the lion. This discussion was going on for a few years. We had to apprise him of our budget, storyboard and he would say what was possible and not. Then we decided what we could shoot and what we could manage with VFX,” he explains.

Usually, the lion’s and the actors’ portions are shot in separate frames and then mixed, the Ezra director explains. “We rarely get to do combination scenes. But for this film, fortunately we could do it with Chackochan,” he adds.

So, what was Kunchacko Boban’s reaction ahead of the shoot? “He had his concerns, but he was game for it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be in that situation, to have that face-off with a lion. We had taken all safety precautions,” Jay says, adding that the movie, which extensively evolves against the backdrop of a zoo, also features a bear, gorilla and other animals.

Grrr’s shoot is now complete and the VFX work is now pending. “Hopefully, in about three months’ time, we should be set for release. It’s a big film,” Jay adds. Apart from Kunchacko, the film also has Suraj Venjaramoodu, Rajesh Madhavan, Shruti Ramachandran, Anagha and Shobi Thilakan.