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Justin Chadwick In Talks to Direct Idris Elba-Led Mandela Biopic; Naomie Harris Lines Up Starring Role

Written by on March 12, 2012 

The Nelson Mandela biopic Long Walk to Freedom had some unusual scheduling when Idris Elba signed to star without a director on board, much less even hinted at. But with Idris Elba being a name that attracts others, we’re hearing some three weeks later (via ScreenDaily) that Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) is in “advanced talks” to helm, while Naomie Harris (Skyfall) has been negotiating to play Mandela’s wife, Winnie. And, on the financial side of things, Origin Pictures have decided to throw in their support with Videovision Entertainment. Not bad for a project that had nothing going on three months ago.

As we already told you, Long Walk will chronicle Mandela’s entire life with both “an epic sweep” and the former leader’s official sanction, using his own autobiography of the same title as its basis. (Gladiator and Les Miserables screenwriter William Nicholson is working in that department.) Nothing all too surprising — seeing as we’re talking about a biopic centering on one of the 20th century’s most influential people — though one shouldn’t dismiss the notion of seeing his whole story onscreen for the first time. Invictus this will not be.

Despite the fact that Chadwick might be indicative of a somewhat “standard” directorial style — not that this tale needs visual innovation to really work — Elba and Harris bring a pretty good deal of promise to the proceedings. What more do you want from a Mandela biopic than compelling material and strong acting, anyway?

Do you see more promise in Long Walk with this recent announcement?

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