Controversial Mandela biopic d

Controversial Mandela biopic debuts at Cannes Film Festival

First preview of the adaptation of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography at Cannes Film Festival

Controversial Mandela biopic d


Justin Chadwick's Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a film adaptation of Madiba's autobiography, caused a stir after its first preview at the Cannes Festival.

The New York Times called the footage some of the most intriguing material at the festival, saying that Idris Elba, the Golden Globe winning British actor who plays Mandela, delivered impassioned speeches and tore off his shirt to reveal a buff chest.

“This is not Mommy’s Mandela. You’re going to see stuff that’s pretty controversial,” Harvey Weinstein, co-chairperson of the Weinstein Company, which will distribute the film in the US, told The Times.

The poster for the film, said to be inspired by posters calling for Mandela's release, features the tagline, “It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die,” a quote from the statement Mandela made on 20 April 1964 during the Rivonia treason trial.

Nelson Mandela movie Nelson Mandela posterThe choice of a British actor to play the iconic South African leader has been criticised in South Africa. Mabutho Kid Sithole, president of the Creative Workers Union of SA, said, â€

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œThere’s always some reason to avoid using South African actors and having other people tell our stories. You tell me now, how will this actor pronounce Qunu, where Mandela was born, or Rolihlahla, his real name?”

The film's casting agent Moonyeenn Lee said that that almost all of the picture's other roles would be played by local actors, including the role of Mandela at the ages of seven and 16. Lee also said that the actress to play Winnie Madikizela-Mandela would be South African. However, eventually the role was given to British actress Naomie Harris, mostly known from the roles of Calypso in the Pirates of the Caribbean and Moneypenny in Skyfall, the latest James Bond film. Harris said that portraying Winnie Mandela was her biggest challenge to date, speaking to Glamour magazine in Cannes.


South African actors who appear in the movie include Gys de Villiers as former president F W de Klerk; Fana Mokoena, who plays Govan Mbeki, and singer Nomfusi Gotyana as Miriam Makeba.

Comedians Riaad Moosa and Rob van Vuuren, as well as Tsotsi actress Terry Pheto and Blood Diamond actor Grant Swanby also appear in the film.

Mandela is said to have personally awarded the film rights to the book to Anant Singh's production company before 2009.

The script was written by William Nicholson, who previously wrote Les Miserables and Gladiator.

The film is planned for release in South Africa on 6 December 2013.