Idris Elba on Playing Nelson Mandela: 'Those Were Big Shoes to Fill'
Here’s what the 41-year-old actor had to share with the mag:
On playing Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: “I’ve been told I have presence. I’ve been told I’m charismatic. But I’m not Nelson Mandela. Everybody has a sense of who Mandela is—his nobleness, his white hair, his voice. Those were big shoes to fill. I felt like that would be the challenge: to create Mr. Mandela’s presence on film for people who have never met him.”
Laura Linney, on Idris’ star quality: “What’s most impressive to me is not that he’s as dynamic and sexy and masculine as he is—and how powerfully that translates on-screen—but that he can damper it down. When star quality is aligned with good acting, that’s pretty powerful. George Clooney has that. A few people have that—not many. I certainly think Idris does.”
On having to prove he could play Nelson Mandela: “I stood up and talked to these extras. I’m looking them in the eye, and I know what they’re thinking ‘You’re not South African. You don’t look like Mandela. Show me something.’”
For more from Idris, visit Vogue.com.
FYI: Idris is wearing a Superdry Commodity Slim Chinos in green and a Superdry + Timothy Everest Town Coat.