The World Cup Also Messed With Cary Fukunaga’s New Movie Beasts of No Nation

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Director Cary Fukunaga and actor Abraham Attah. Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Just how hard is it to shoot a movie in Ghana? Really hard! At least that’s the picture that’s been painted by every single story about Cary Fukunaga’s new movie about child soldiers, Beasts of No Nation, which the True Detective (season one) director insisted on shooting in the West African nation, despite it not having a film industry. Vulture has already spoken extensively with Fukunaga and learned that during the shoot, he got malaria, his camera operator pulled a hamstring (forcing Fukunaga to shoot the whole thing), and Idris Elba nearly fell off a cliff and died. They also were repeatedly extorted by their Ghanaian actors and the dudes driving their equipment. 

On Tuesday night, at a Peggy Siegal Company screening of the film, which comes out on Netflix and in theaters on October 16, we learned that even the World Cup — the World Cup! — was also against them. “The day after America beat Ghana in the World Cup, no one from Ghana came to work, so that was a tough day,” Fukunaga said during the Q&A. Presumably they were in mourning? On strike? “But the Americans were happy nonetheless.” 

At least the sport didn’t totally ruin the movie. Fukunaga’s casting director found the film’s remarkable child star, Abraham Attah (winner of the Best Young Actor prize at the Venice Film Festival), on a soccer field. “I was in school playing football with my friends on our soccer field and a white man walked toward us and told us to come for an audition,” Attah said. The white man was Fukunaga's casting director. Attah didn’t know until he got to the audition that it was for a movie rather than a soccer team.

And in case you needed an extra reason to love Idris Elba, Attah says he’d often play soccer with the kids in the movie, and “he is good at playing football.” No word yet on whether Fukunaga joined in, but if he’s as good at soccer as he is at growing man-buns, watch out, world.