The Beekeeper: Is Derek Danforth Based on an Actual Businessman?

Jason Statham stars in a John Wick-style revenge action thriller, ‘The Beekeeper,’ as the titular ex-mercenary/assassin for a top-secret agency tasked with keeping the balance of the world in order. The job of a Beekeeper is to make sure that everyone plays their parts and that things run smoothly rather than descending into chaos. But their task is made difficult by people like Derek Danforth who are hungry for money and power. Played by Josh Hutcherson, Derek is in a place of high privilege, which puts him in a position of power that he abuses by making others miserable. He is a truly vile person, and the crimes that are credited to him in the movie make one wonder how close the character comes to reality. SPOILERS AHEAD

The Fictional Derek Danforth Represents the Real Vices of the World

Derek Danforth in ‘The Beekeeper’ is an entirely fictional character created by Kurt Wimmer, who wrote the script for the film. The character was further developed by director David Ayer and actor Josh Hutcherson, both of whom tried to add more nuance and honesty to Derek to make him as realistic as possible.

Talking about taking over the role of a villain against Jason Statham, Hutcherson revealed that he didn’t look towards anyone in particular to get to Derek’s soul. He just thought about “a crypto bro” with no dearth of money but someone who also has immense power at his disposal, making him think he is untouchable. He drowns himself in drugs and booze while skateboarding through his office and trying to be zen. When Hutcherson started to think about the core of the character, he asked the director why a person as rich as Derek would indulge in the business of scamming elderly people.

This led them to dig deeper into the role, and they came up with a detailed character study of Derek, according to which his narcissism and the sense of power he feels over others is what leads him to do all that. While he has other businesses that are also thriving, he wants something to himself, something that is dark and illegal, but he knows he can do it freely and will never have to answer for his actions because his mother is the President of the country. His twisted mindset leads him to abuse his power as much as possible, exploiting innocent people.

Despite it being an “unhinged, dislikable, nasty” character, Hutcherson revealed he had a lot of fun while playing Derek, calling it “an absolute joy” to have the opportunity to get into the skin of a complex and dark character, which is quite different from the selfless heroes he is often seen portraying on the screen.

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