Mandela Film Poster 'Long Walk to Freedom'

February 2012  Maureensmediahype

During a promotional interview for his film ‘Ghost Rider’ Idris Elba revealed what he will be working on next;

“My big project this year, I’m gonna go play Nelson Mandela in Long Walk To Freedom, which is his official book. That’s where my head is geared to this summer.”

It will be interesting to see how the finish product turns out and I hope that all the best effort has gone into making the film a honorable homage to the Great Nelson Mandela, purely due to the number of films that have been made it will be a perfect ending to all attempts of telling a story that surpasses human creativity.

Idris Elba Mandela Poster

Idris Elba is to portray Nelson Mandela in the motion picture ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ the poster marks the first images released since it was announced that Elba was taking on the iconic role.

As a true fanatic of Elba it does bring to mind the constant debate of why only ‘Hollywood bankable’ actors are offered these major roles and not Africans in this case a South African. This is in no way to undermine Elbas’ capability as an actor and he is of African origin and in reality we can hope  (will confirm after watching the film) that   its cinematic value will be outstanding; nonetheless in the case of history why hasn’t this role reached the hands of the many outstanding South African actors who have been captivating audiences around the world on television and in feature films.

The story of Mandela somehow seems through previous attempts to surpass the ability of many, if it is not for the accents dropping or bordering on mockery it is the lack of emotion and delivery that in my opinion will be best sought after from a South African native who can draw and deliver from their own history and understanding of a major moment and figure that shaped present day.

Take a moment and consider a statesman or women of power and prominence in the Western World being depicted by actors of African origin?

Ultimately yes… your talents and capability to take on the role can surely be deemed of more importance; although the mentality that producers and executives have come to pass on as the norm have to be challenged and questioned.

Asked why Elba and not a South African was cast in the lead role, the producer is alleged to have claimed that South African actors lacked the necessary inches [height] to play Mandela.

Why is Nelson Mandela one of the most prominent figures in African History constantly appearing onscreen as somebody else? In exploring the topic I took a look back at some of the individuals who have played Mandela onscreen over the years.

Actors who portrayed Mandela 

Danny Glover:  Mandela.  (1987)

Sidney Poitier:  Mandela and De Klerk. (1997)

Dennis Haybert: Goodbye Bafana (2007)

Morgan Freeman: Invictus (2009)

Terrence Howard: Winnie (2011)

Idris Elba: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)

Mandela has only been played by two South African born actors Simon Sabela in the 1966 two-part West German TV documentary Der Rivonia-Prozeß and  Lindani Nkosi in 2004’s feature film Drum.

Ultimately I pray that Idris Elba will play this role so well that he and Naomie Harris can win some Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTAS and none will feel the need to retell the story as most attempts seem to have been looking for a perfect formula.

As always let me know what you think, are you excited about the release, who else could play Mandela well onscreen?

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