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Idris Elba 'nearly died' filming 'Beasts of No Nation'

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Bleecker Street Media/Courtesy Everett Collection

Idris Elba appears in the new Netflix war drama Beasts of No Nation, and the decision to sign on for the role was a surprisingly dangerous one for the acclaimed actor.

“I nearly died,” Elba reportedly said on The Jonathan Ross Show. “We decided to do this waterfall scene where all these child soldiers were walking behind this massive waterfall. Cary Fukunaga, the director, decided to shoot it for real.”

Under Fukunaga’s direction, the 43-year-old performer played Commandant, the leader of a rebel group in Africa.

“We went to this waterfall and in this scene my character is standing there watching all the child soldiers go past,” Elba continued. “Now in the setup of that, the stunt coordinator says, ‘Listen everyone, this is a waterfall, that’s a 90-, 100-foot drop down there and the ground is very slippery, just be careful!’ I put my foot on this rock… [and] it’s slippery, obviously. I slip … I put my hand on this tree — it’s not a tree, it’s a branch. It snaps and I go literally about six feet before I go bang over and I got caught by the security guy.”

Elba previously referenced the scare in a September interview with Variety. “I literally was like, ‘Whoa!'” he said at the time. “It was a moment where I was like, ‘This is the real deal.'”