One of the most fascinating, complex, revered figures of our generation, Nelson Mandela has a life story that profoundly speaks to unwavering courage, overwhelming compassion for people and the sheer tenacity of the human spirit. It’s a huge undertaking for any actor to capture Mandela onscreen yet Idris Elba seems poised to step up to the challenge.

The British actor was cast in the lead role of ‘Long Walk to Freedom,’ a film based on Mandela’s autobiography of the same name. The movie, which also stars Naomie Harris as Winnie, chronicles Nelson Mandela’s life from childhood to his election as the South African president.

From the look of the poster, which debuted on The Hollywood Reporter, ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ could be a memorable, compelling film featuring a breakthrough performance by Idris Elba. The producers are betting on it; it will be released in the United States on November 29th, which is optimal timing for awards consideration.

What do you think of this first look at Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela, Clutchettes? Do you have high hopes for the film?


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  • Gail

    Sigh… I mean the film industry is probably trying to bank off the fact the Nelson Mandela is at the end of his life (God bless him and his family for all they have endured!) so are rushing to make this film with not much thought. This, like the Zoe Saldana fiasco casting, is just not even close. I mean, good grief, if you seriously have no casting ability to have the decency to look in the nation of South African to find a decent actor, of which there are TONS, at LEAST get someone who looks like him, I mean Morgan Freeman even looks very much like Mandela and he is not African. So if they are looking for Hollywood guy to make the film more big screen, there are actually options out there. Try harder. SMH.

  • Nadell

    Our icons are being trampled upon with the careless casting and selections! Industry abuse at its finest. And where is the integrity with the actors? I luv Idris but he should’ve turned down this role.
    Idris & Zoe, YOU BOTH ARE ON MY LIST!

  • I dont’ know about Idris Elba playing Mandela. I’ve only ever seen him playing tough guys in his English and American roles and I know that Mandela’s mannerisms are more soft spoken and thoughtful. But as an African, the thing that breaks it or makes it for me with Black diasporan actors playing African roles is the accents and body language. So if Idris Elba can perfect his SA english, Xhosa and Afrikaans accents and mannerisms I think he will have no problem selling the role to everyone. On the other note, I am very excited to hear that Naomie Harris will be playing Winnie. I think Ms. Harris is one of the most talented black actresses in the British and American film industries. Her roles as a Jamaican migrant to England during WWII in “Small Islands” and as a Kenyan primary school teacher in “The First Grader” were very solid. As a Kenyan, I was quite proud of her nailing her regional Kenyan accent. So I am very excited to see her in this film and I am anticipating seeing Idris Elba transform into dear ole Madiba.

    • Idris elba’s parents are African. His dad is from Sierra Leonian and his mom is Ghanian. He’s good at accents. What’s the problem?? Usually they get african Americans to play South africans so at least it’s a step in the right direction.

  • I know of Elba’s ethnic background and since I’m one of his fans I have more faith in him in this role than for any other actor they could have chosen (He’s amazing in ‘Luther’!). I was just stating what usually makes it or breaks for me with actors trying to play African personalities and roles. For me it doesn’t matter what skin colour or ethnic background the actor has, they could pick a white or asian actor for all I care. After all, colour is just an illusion. What does it matter if an actor has genealogical roots in Africa but can’t personify a real African person to save their life. In any case, I’m looking forward to seeing Elba as Mandela! I already know Naomie Harris is gonna do a great job as Winnie (As I said, she totally convinced me that she was a fellow Kenyan in “First Grader’ despite her having no African background)