“Sometimes it’s too tough for me to watch,” he said in an interview at the Wall Street Journal office in New York. “They’ll see it but I don’t want to be there.”
It’s easy to understand why. In the movie, Attah plays Agu, an African boy who is recruited as a child soldier for a gang of rebels led by a charismatic and gruff leader called Commandant (Idris Elba). The choice for Agu is simple: Become a soldier and live, or be killed by his captors. Moments later, Agu is seen donning a rifle and helping the gang pillage villages in gruesome fashion.
“Beasts of No Nation” is the first feature film for Netflix and on the day it premieres on the streaming service, the movie will also play in theaters in limited release. Fukunaga shot it for a little over $6 million.
Attah’s performance is attracting early buzz, after he won the Mastrello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor at the Venice Film Festival. It was quite a coup for a kid who never wanted to be an actor in the first place.
Various stories have reported that Attah was discovered in his home country of Ghana as a street vendor, but he and his friends were actually asked to audition for the part when a casting director spotted them playing soccer at school. He won the role over about 1,000 other auditioning kids.