The Weinstein Co.
Thursday was Nelson Mandela International Day, and The Weinstein Co. -- never ones to miss a synergistic opportunity -- screened portions of their new film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" during a United Nations General Assembly. The biopic, which stars "Pacific Rim"'s Idris Elba as the revolutionary anti-apartheid activist and leader, also got a brand new trailer that is nothing short of rousing.
The first thing that strikes you about the trailer for "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" is the size and scope of it -- Mandela meets his future wife/soul mate Winnie (played by Naomie Harris from "Skyfall"), witnesses white police officers fire on protesters, becomes militarized, and then goes to prison, where he will spend a majority of his adult life. It looks fairly incredible, but you have to wonder if the filmmakers (led by director Justin Chadwick) have bitten off more than they can chew, considering few human beings have led a life as singularly powerful as Mandela's.
Regardless of the potential storytelling shortcomings, it appears Elba is totally on point in his portrayal of Mandela, inhabiting this role of a lifetime with appropriate gusto. Mandela is an icon, a larger-than-life figure, and it would have been very easy for an actor to simplify the performance into something approaching godliness. Elba, however, seems intent on making the man a real human character, with his own shortcomings and foibles.
"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" is set for a November 29 release. Currently hospitalized in Pretoria, the former South African president turned 95 yesterday.