According to Digitalspy.com, actor Idris Elba has been cast in the role of Nelson Mandela in the upcoming biopic THE LONG WALK TO FREEDOM. The film is set to begin filming this May.
Commented producer Anant Singh, "We are delighted finally to be in pre-production on Long Walk to Freedom. It has taken many years to find the right actor, however Idris is perfectly cast to play Nelson Mandela - he has the passion, the star power, the African upbringing and, of course, the height." Singh was given the rights to Mandela's story in 1997 by the former South African president himself. He will produce the film along with David Thompson.
THE LONG WALK TO FREEDOM will cover Mandela's entire life, including scenes shot on location on Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.
The film will be directed by Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) and written by Bill Nicholson (Gladiator). Actress Naomie Harris will reportedly play Mandela's wife Winnie Mandela.
Idris Elba is perhaps best known for his role as the calculating de facto leader of a Baltimore drug empire in HBO's critically acclaimed original series "The Wire." In 2005, he received an Image Award nomination for his work on the series. Also for HBO, Elba starred in the movie "Sometimes In April," from director Raoul Peck. Set during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the movie marked his first film starring role. Elba played a Hutu soldier who tries to save his Tutsi wife and family, earning another Image Award nomination for his performance.
Elba most recently starred in the "Daddy's Little Girls," with Gabrielle Union under the direction of Tyler Perry. He next stars in the horror thriller "28 Weeks Later," the much-anticipated sequel to the zombie hit "28 Days Later," which is due out in May 2007. Additionally, he recently completed production on Ridley Scott's "American Gangster," with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, and is currently filming the holiday comedy "This Christmas."
Elba's other film credits include "The Gospel," for director Rob Hardy; "Buffalo Soldiers," with Joaquin Phoenix and Ed Harris; and "Beautiful Mother," with Catherine Deneuve.
On television, Elba has guest starred on such series as "Law & Order" and "CSI: Miami," and starred in the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries "Ultraviolet." In his native England, he starred in the recent Channel 4 telefilm "All in the Game," and earlier guest starred on a number of series, including the BBC's "Silent Witness" and "Dangerfield."