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Idris Elba Confirms Nelson Mandela Project + Source Material + Expected Dates

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act February 21, 2012 at 2:21PM

News of Idris Elba playing Nelson Mandela has been circulating the web for at least a month or 2, and while we've known about it, we didn't (and still haven't) posted anything about it because, as far as I know, there hasn't been any confirmation of it... until now anyway.
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Idris Nelson

News of Idris Elba playing Nelson Mandela has been circulating the web for at least a month or 2, and while we've known about it, we didn't (and still haven't) posted anything about it because, as far as I know, there hasn't been any confirmation of it... until now anyway.

I'd read it on several other sites, but a source either wasn't given, or the source was one of the other sites without a source. 

No official press release, no word from Idris himself (I inquired but got no reply from him nor his reps); so I stayed away until I had some real confirmation.

In the video below, Idris finally (at least, as far as I know) mentions that he is indeed going to tackle Nelson Mandela in a film, adding that it'll be his focus this coming summer, meaning it'll likely be his next project.

He also states that the film will be based on Long Walk to Freedom - the autobiographical work written by Nelson Mandela himself, which highlights his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison.

So there ya have it. It's official, and then some. I wonder who's bankrolling it, or if there's even money already in place. Who'se directing? Any other cast selected yet?

By the way, this is in addition to the 6-part TV miniseries in development titled Madiba, on the life of Nelson Mandela, which we announced about a month ago.

For source material, the producers of that mini-series are also looking directly to the man himself, using Mandela's 2 books, Conversations With Myself, and Nelson Mandela By Himself.

Which will get to the finish line first? 

I dunno...  but what I can say is that I'm having trouble picturing Idris as Mandela. I'm an Idris fan, and think he's a good actor; but I just can't see him in this particular role at all.

Maybe he has some tricks up his sleeve that'll surprise us.

I wonder if he's shot the next season of Luther yet...

Watch the video interview below:

This article is related to: Interview, Idris Elba, Things That Make You Go Hmm...


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