As Nelson Mandela rests in a hospital room and people have begun to look back on his astonishing life, it also serves as a reminder that his story has never truly been brought to the big screen in any convincing way. Morgan Freeman did a serviceable job as the anti-apartheid activist in Invictus, but that film was more about rugby’s influence in changing the societal winds than Mandela. But it looks like Mandela’s life will be chronicled in the grandiose manner it deserves when Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom hits theaters this fall.
The first trailer is here, and the things everyone will be watching out for is how star Idris Elba handles Mandela’s unique accent. He acquits himself fairly well, reciting in Mandela’s solemn tone a passage from his autobiography. It’s basically the polar opposite of his growling, booming commander role in Pacific Rim, but it’s of note that Elba seems capable of tackling two very different sorts of inspirational leaders. Unfortunately we don’t get a close up of how he’ll look in the role, nor do we see anything of Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela, but the point is made that this film is aiming to be something special and an obvious contender for Oscar gold.
Directed by Justin Chadwick, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom opens on November 29th.