This on-screen biopic, by Justin Chadwick, does not steer clear of Mandela’s faults as if he was a super hero. In fact, it does a great job showing the whole man. Mandela will be portrayed by actor Idris Elba and Naomie Harris has been cast as Winnie Mandela.
Elba said it’s important that people get both sides; the good and not so good. Mandela is seen early on as a womanizer who abused Evelyn, his first wife. Elba said he didn’t want to tear into his character like that but wanted to portray him in a way that was honest.
The biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” premiered this weekend at the Toronto Film Festival. Elba had the opportunity to address the viewers on his role as Nelson Mandela.
This film is a two-and-a-half journey based on the former president of South Africa’s autobiography. The film takes the viewers on a journey from early in Mandela’s life as a young lawyer, his days as a political activist through his 27 years of incarceration. It hits all the important events that occurred before his 1994 democratic election.
Elba said that everyone has seen Mandela as a saint that they know and love but feels it’s important for the audience learns who he was prior to all of that in order to really comprehend who he was and is.
Mandela, at 95-years-old is still revered by many on an international level.
Other actors such as Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman, David Harewood and Danny Glover have all shared the role of Mandela on camera.
Chadwick felt Elba was the right one for his film. He knows that he looks nothing like the stately Mandela but felt Elba would be the brave choice and the right choice. Of course there were some obvious other choices but he wanted Elba. Reportedly, Elba didn’t disappoint, but managed to embody the magic of Mandela.
Even though the movie received mixed reviews based on content it seems all agree that Elba did the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, justice.
When viewers look at Mandela’s life and consider it to be his story; they’ll have the opportunity to see the good times, touch times and all in between. One thing about everyone’s life that’s constant is life has many cycles that people are forced to process daily.
Mandela was a game changer who realized that the pain of staying the same was more intense than the pain of invoking change. He wasn’t born with any super powers; he just made a choice to change lives. Anytime a person can see what needs to happen, they have also been empowered to invoke change.
Mandela learned early on that talking about change doesn’t produce change. People need an extreme and massive plan of action that shakes up their routine and leaves no other choice but change.
Nelson Mandela showed the world that one man’s courage is enough to make a difference. Most instrumental in ending institutionalized oppression in South Africa, he had a vision for a rainbow nation and started working.
Mandela’s family feels the interpretation does their relative justice. Mandela’s son, Kweku Mandela, said this team did a great job. He said this was a special and unique performance and the family hopes the world agrees.
Elba has already been favored to win an Oscar for this role in 2014. Due to Mandela’s illness, Elba never had the opportunity to meet him. So he had to do the film based on the script without Mandela’s personal influence. He said having the opportunity to take part in the life of a true legend meant a great deal to him. He said more important than anything this film is a platform to re-educate people on the great man Mandela is.
As viewers and fans embark this biopic film that depicts the life and times of Nelson Mandela, the former South African President, let them do so in the spirit it was written. The movie is set to open in theaters everyone on January 3, 2014.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)