British actors to play Nelson and Willie Mandela
The story of Nelson Mandela is one which should have you wondering why it hasn't been immortalised in film, well it's fair to say it's a complicated one of good and bad and that it has so much to tell that so far only mini-series have really explored his story and he's not been the main focus in films such as Invictus and Winnie.
Now though his story could be coming to film finally with the adaptation of the book Long Walk to Freedom, a film that has started development a few times but now looks set to move forward with two great British actors taking the leads of Nelson and Winnie Mandela.
Long Walk to Freedom (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) tells the story of Nelson Mandela's life, the time that he spent in prison under South Africa's apartheid regime, his release and step forward to the presidency of the country and his journey to heal the country and the people. No small story of simple characters there then.
The film version has had a few false starts with Tom Hooper and Shekhar Kapur both looking to direct the film, but a new director has landed at the doorstep of the film along with two great talents for the leading roles according to reports.
Let's cut right to the chase and not drag this out, for the news of who would be playing Nelson Mandela came out the other week from the actor himself, Idris Elba revealed through HipHollywood, Flickering Myth and The Playlist that he was set to play the man in the adaptation.
That excited me it has to be said. Idris Elba is a hugely charismatic actor and delivers great performances, and I particularly love the contradictions he plays in the character of Luther. While I think it's a stretch right now to see and feel him playing Mandela, I think he's going to pull something pretty amazing out of the bag for the role.
Now the word is through Screen Daily and The Playlist that Naomie Harris is currently in talks to play Winnie Mandela in the film and that the director Justin Chadwick is currently negotiating to direct.
Harris is another great talent and she has the ability to deliver an effortless and natural performance that has me aching with belief. I think she's a totally underused and underrated actress and to cap it all she's absolutely captivating on screen.
The part I'm unsure about when it's all said is Justin Chadwick. He's directed some good British television, but for films he has The Other Boleyn Girl and The First Grader, neither of which has really set the film world aflame.
The story of Mandela is a strong and important one to tackle, there is a lot to tell in there and a lot to get just right in pitch, plus there are already two great talents to direct. I think Chadwick has is work cut out for him, but it has to be remembered that every director who has considered to have proven themselves had to do just that, prove themselves, and maybe this is the project that people will look back on in Chadwick's career and say that was the film that made him.
I'm excited for the idea of this film and the possibility of Harris and Elba working together in these iconic roles, and I'm sure they are too as they could be just as iconic for their careers as they will be on screen for audiences.