In an interview with Reuters, Idris Elba has spoken about his role as Nelson Mandela in biopic Long Walk To Freedom, describing it as a “massive opportunity”.

It [the role] meant so much to me, it’s such a massive opportunity to be part of a true legend’s life, and more importantly, the film re-educates people on this legend.

Idris plays the first black president of South Africa alongside Naomie Harris who plays Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie in the film based on his autobiography of the same name.


Unlike some actors who portray iconic people on the big screen, Idris has never gotten the chance to meet Mandela due to the 92-year-old’s illness:

…Our interpretation of him was without his personal influence. But the script is such a good script, and obviously it comes from his book, and the book speaks for itself.

Idris then went on to talk about the potential impact of the Long Walk To Freedom film and reception that it may receive:

This is the first real biopic I’ve done, and there’s no real difference in the process, but it’s Mr. Mandela. So that’s huge, everyone knows who he is and what he sounds like, and I look nothing like him.

If I get judged, which I will, about my performance or how I sound or how I look, I think people miss the point. The point is that this is called Long Walk to Freedom, this is the book about his life and it’s his own words.

Long Walk To Freedom is due for release on 3 January 2014.