North American, Australian and New Zealand distribution rights to Justin Chadwick's ("The Other Boleyn Girl") upcoming Nelson Mandela biopic "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" have been acquired by The Weinstein Company, the company announced today with producer Anant Singh.
Development on the film has been active since 1996, when Singh acquired the rights to Mandela's autobiography after first discussing an adaptation of Mandela's life while he was still in prison. Two-time Oscar nominated writer William Nicholson ("Gladiator," "Les Miserables") handled the script, and the film stars Idris Elba as Mandela, along with Naomie Harris as his wife, Winnie. The film has been described as having an epic scale, and will likely follow Mandela's education and 27 years in prison in addition to his role as South Africa's President from 1994 to 1999.
"There have been a number of stop and goes," said TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein, "but sometimes things work out for a reason, and Anant Singh has done a masterful job in producing the epic story of our times."
"TWC is the best North American distributor for 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' and I am delighted to continue our association of over 20 years with Harvey" added Singh.
The deal was negotiated by David Glasser and Michal Steinberg for TWC and Singh and Alan Grodin for Distant Horizon. No release date has been set for film, but expect to see it come this year's awards season.