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Poster #3 For 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' Gives Us A First Good Look At Idris Elba

by Tambay A. Obenson
June 17, 2013 6:38 PM
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I must say that the fact that we've been treated to 3 different posters but not a single clip, or a trailer for the film, is curious. And this is the very first poster of the 3 which gives us the clearest look at star Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela.

This is all being very carefully orchestrated, obviously with reason.

Although it all does make me a bit nervous, especially given that I've been concerned about Elba playing Mandela all along. He's a good actor, don't get me wrong; and I'm not suggesting that he had to resemble Mandela exactly. I've just had difficulty picturing him (as well as hearing him as Mandela) in the role, and have wondered if there was a more suitable actor for the part. But I'm certainly willing to be convinced otherwise, and I think the film's first trailer, whenever it's released, will tell me plenty.

I suppose the producers may have taken some creative liberties with the story, and aren't necessarily making a "Nelson Mandela film," but instead, a film that captures the substance/essence of Mandela, and the universality of his coming-of-age/coming-into-his-own struggles.

We'll certainly see.

In the meantime, here's poster number 3 for MandelaLong Walk to Freedom, Idris Elba's Nelson Mandela biopic, directed by Justin Chadwick, which highlights Mandela's early life, education and 27 years in prison. 

The Weinstein Company will open it on November 29 - likely one of its Oscar contenders. 

The first trailer was unveiled at Cannes last month, and I expect it to show up online soon. We hope.

It's a film that we've seen absolutely nothing of (except for these 3 posters), since it's all been kept under-wraps.

Naomie Harris co-stars as Winnie Mandela in a film that producers have said will have an "epic sweep," from a script written by GladiatorShadowlands and Les Miserables writer, William Nicholson.

South African stars Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Zolani Mkiva, Jamie Bartlett, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Deon Lotz and Terry Pheto, round out the cast.

Here's the newly-released 3rd poster, (via THR). You'll find the first two underneath):

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  • Allen Hurtt | June 18, 2013 9:20 PMReply

    I agree Wasoba. Problem at this point really exist with the photography and design. These are the sole images depicting a truly iconic living hero. While the movie can and will take creative license, the photographer(s) and graphic designer(s) at this point need to pay homage and bridge the iconic images that exist and Idris Elba. In addition refresh but be as true to the graphics of the period. Excellent example of this would be the posters of "Ray", "Walk The Line" and "Bird" or even the immediate recognizability of the African Barbershop graphics.

    There are a host of outstanding, and under-utilized black(or should I say Blik) actors that could have played this role, that said there is no doubt in my mind that Idris can pull it off. Too bad they didn't ask me to design the posters... eh, maybe next time.

  • urbanauteur | June 18, 2013 9:01 PMReply

    He look more like Steven Biko or Walter Rodney.

  • NO BRAINER | June 18, 2013 8:31 PMReply


  • August Wasoba | June 18, 2013 12:22 PMReply

    lol all these haters on here. who cares if he actually looks like Mandela? it would be nice if he did, but the performance is a lot more important. if Dennis Haysbert (President David Palmer on 24) can play Nelson Mandela , Denzel play Malcolm X, and Sidney Poitier can play Thurgood Marshall, f*** it, I'll wait until I see some footage before I start judging. At this point, ambivalence is my feeling.

  • August Wasoba | June 18, 2013 8:54 PM

    Once again, we have not heard him speak a line or see him perform in a scene, so it is hard to say he can't pull it off. Keep in mind, Idris is not some average actor, the man knows how to act, so there is a chance he can pull it off. i'm not gonna make a judgment from a poster, a stationary image. a pic that was probably chosen from 10's, if not hundreds of photos taken. so once again, i'll stand by statement, i'll reserve judgment until i see more footage.

  • Rocket | June 18, 2013 7:57 PM

    He's also much taller. Mandela's stature is a big part of his aura. He stature matches his voice. It is a wonderful contrast to his large personality and powerful persona. Idris just doesn't fit this role.

  • lauren | June 18, 2013 12:16 PMReply

    What's missing in Idris' expression is the innate grace of Mr. Mandela; Idris looks gangster.

  • vdub0408 | June 18, 2013 11:51 AMReply

    If this film expands on the focal point of the posters, I will be very, very glad. Acknowledging, celebrating, examining the revolutionary, freedom-fighting aspect of Nelson Mandela's life is loooong overdue. Mandela's life is going the way of so many strong, freedom fighting black men who the wider society deems appropriate to "hero-ize". To make them safe for mass consumption their strength, resolve, and fight for justice for their people gets co-opted; they get put on a stamp and we all sing Kum-Ba-Ya. The treasured and venerated Madiba has already been pigeonholed (I might even add 'lessened') into a kindly grandfather, who is the Father-of-the-Country, peacemaker who loves the world. While this is true, it is NOT what brought Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela to much-deserved prominence. It was his 'long walk to freedom' that included fighting for freedom, for the rights of all people, for justice for his people, working and struggling in solidarity with other freedom fighters, and 27 long years in prison that brought him to prominence. I hope that this film tells THAT story and tells it with reverence, love, respect and Excellence. Madiba deserves all that and more.

  • Nadell | June 18, 2013 10:33 AMReply

    .....(blank stare)
    Again, I classify this under ABSOLUTELY NOT!
    Idris, you are losing points.....
    Folks, imagine what Zoe's posters will look like for Nina....!

  • Katie | June 18, 2013 4:52 AMReply

    Okay, now either I'm tripping or this man looks NOTHING like Mandela! How the hell did he get a role playing him? It's laughable that he playing this man who he bear no resemblance to whatsoever and it's distracting.

  • blah, blah | June 17, 2013 9:25 PMReply

    Every time I see a post related to this film, I keep hoping that I will be convinced. But nope! I still don't see Mandela. Now Steven Biko on the other hand, maybe. Also is there no other African from the continent we can do a biopic on?

  • Darkan | June 17, 2013 8:35 PMReply

    Wow... Morgan Freeman looked more like the role than Idris did. Hell, Terrance Howard did!! LOL. Why do all these actors feel as if they can play an iconic character and not bear any resemblance?! Smdh. These posters look like Idris Elba as any other political South African figure and far from Nelson Mandela. Damn shame and a train wreck with the definite inevitability of happening.

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