Idris Elba Doubted Ability To Play Iconic Mandela Role
The epitome of sexual chocolate had doubts about pulling off such an iconic role.
British actor Idris Elba says that taking on the role of Nelson Mandela in the new movie Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom was a “massive challenge”, and spoke how the opportunity came about after Denzel Washington stepped away from the film. The Luther star, who found fame with his role in hit US series The Wire, stars as the legendary former South African president in the part that was originally intended for Oscar-winner Denzel Washington.
“At some point the DNA changed and it didn’t work for him to do the film, so my name was thrown in that mix. In actuality it was really easy to get the job, but I didn’t believe that I had gotten it,” Elba reportedly said, according to the Press Association. But while the 41-year-old did question his abilities to pull off the iconic role, he managed to pull himself together.
“I was like, ‘Damn, do I have this performance in me?'” he admitted. “Everyone knows what Mandela looks like and sounds like and I’m not like any of that. It was a massive challenge, but it was time to grow up and really put my acting chops out there.”
While the actors were shooting the movie, Elba admits that facing the reality of Mandela’s brutal treatment during his 27 years in jail was difficult for many on set. “They felt bad. … I could see it in their eyes. I spoke to director (Justin Chadwick) and I said, ‘I need these guys to go back to their core. If there is any sense of racism in them I need them to bring it up. If there is a black person that they don’t like let me hear it and feel it’,” said the actor.
“That was important because it would come through in the performance and suddenly it becomes the biopic that’s safe.”
An even more mature Idris…we likey!