Belfast Telegraph

Mandela approved of Elba's acting

Nelson Mandela gave his thumbs up to Idris Elba's portrayal of him, and even mistook him for the real deal, the actor has revealed.

The Luther star plays the late South African President in Justin Chadwick's biopic, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, and Mandela watched some footage before he died.

Speaking before Mandela's death, Idris said: "I think he has seen some of it, clips. I think he has been very complimentary about parts of the film he saw, almost in disbelief, like it has been done well."

The actor admitted that Mandela even thought that Idris was him in certain scenes.

"I did not get specific feedback but he did think I was him. He said, 'Oh! Is that me? How did they get me walking up that hill?'," he recalled.

"When they told him it was me, he laughed. That's a massive compliment on its own, you know."

Idris never met Mandela but he met his ex-wife Winnie (played in the film by Naomie Harris) and two of his daughters, Zindzi and Zenani.

"I met Winnie, Zindzi and Zenani who have been really helpful from day one about helping me figure out who I'm playing. It was a real treat to sit down with them," he said.

"They love it. They are very moved by it, it's very personal to them and there are some high emotions," he added.

:: Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom opens in cinemas on January 3, 2014.

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