There has been no shortage of portrayals of freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, and given his courageous story, which still resonates and inspires to this day, it’s not exactly a surprise. But the past few years have seen an uptick of the man on screens, both big and small. Of course, Morgan Freeman took on the part in Clint Eastwood‘s “Invictus,” while David Harewood and Terrence Howard both inhabited the man for “Mrs. Mandela” and “Winnie” respectively. And there’s more on the way. Last month Variety revealed that a biopic mini-series was in the works for U.K. TV titled “Madiba” and based on “Conversations with Myself” and “Nelson Mandela by Himself.” But it seems it will be contending with another long brewing project, that has landed a freshly minted Golden Globe winner for the lead.
Doing the press rounds for “Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance,” Idris Elba caught up with HipHollywood (via Flickering Myth) and revealed that later this year, he’ll start lensing on another Mandela project. “My big project this year, I’m gonna go play Nelson Mandela in ‘Long Walk To Freedom’, an autobiographical work written by Nelson Mandela himself, which highlights his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison…That’s where my head is geared to this summer,” he said.
Videovision Entertainment will be producing the picture, though there is no word yet on who will direct. A few years ago, Tom Hooper was linked to the director’s chair and even met Mandela to talk about the project, but that incarnation never came to pass. But with Elba coming aboard, this one jumps right to the front of the line (in terms of interest) of the many Mandela projects on the way. Elba is a pretty great choice, an actor who has already shown an incredible range, so we’ll be eager to see what he does here and how this project develops.