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.


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.’”


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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