Idris Elba Opens Up About Playing Nelson Mandela in Vogue

Posted on Dec 19 2013 - 6:11am by Tracy

Actor Idris Elba scored a feature in the January 2014 issue of Vogue magazine.

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During his interview with the publication, the “Thor” star opened up about taking on the iconic role as political hero Nelson Mandela.

Mr. Elba’s Q&A session are as follows:

On playing Nelson Mandela in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”: “I’ve been told I have presence. I’ve been told I’m charismatic. But I’m not Nelson Mandela. Everybody has a sense of who Mandela is—his nobleness, his white hair, his voice. Those were big shoes to fill. I felt like that would be the challenge: to create Mr. Mandela’s presence on film for people who have never met him.”

On proving he could play the role: “I stood up and talked to these extras. I’m looking them in the eye, and I know what they’re thinking ‘You’re not South African. You don’t look like Mandela. Show me something.’”

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On his first full-length album called “Mi Mandela”: “Each song is about some sort of feeling, some sort of transitional moment, while I was playing him I took some musicians down to South Africa, and I created this soundscape.”

Co-star Naomie Harris on Elba’s work ethic: “He’s incredibly determined and hardworking. He’s not just an actor. He wears a producer’s hat and a director’s hat, and he can move among them.”


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