A new behind-the-scenes featurette on "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" offers audiences a closer glimpse at the making of the biopic of South African leader and activist Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday at age 95.
The clip, premiering today exclusively on Moviefone, begins with director Justin Chadwick discussing his creative process, and his desire to "drop the camera into these worlds" so moviegoers feel as if they're part of the on-screen action. One way Chadwick accomplished this was through casting local South Africans as extras, which the director said added an authenticity to the proceedings.
Actress Naomie Harris, who plays Mandela's wife, Winnie, explains that that decision was just another way for Chadwick to get his cast to feel more in the moment.
"No acting is allowed [with Chadwick]," Harris says. "It all must be felt and real."
Star Idris Elba, who channels Mandela in a tour-de-force performance, comments on the late icon: "Heroes are far and few between now. I can't imagine who young people consider a hero that is real, as opposed to a comic book. I think Mandela will speak to them."
In the wake of Mandela's passing, Harvey Weinstein released a statement on behalf of "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" distributor The Weinstein Company: "One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalize those who have made a profound impact on humanity. We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela's story and legacy. It's been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history's greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation."
For more from the cast and Chadwick, watch the full featurette below. "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" is in theaters now.