British actors Idris Elba and Naomie Harris grace the cover of JET magazine and discuss creating the movie, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, inside the publication.
The movie, based on Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, chronicles Mandela's life journey from his childhood to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. With the recent passing of Mandela, the film is in high demand for moviegoers. However, the co-stars revealed to JET magazine the challenges they faced portraying the iconic South African figures.
“I didn’t feel like I was accomplished enough to play such a great man,” said Elba when referencing what it was like to portray Mandela. “It was a massive challenge. He could energize people with his charisma and aura. I tried to channel that. I want people to be inspired by his story.”
Harris was also nervous about playing the role of Winnie Mandela, a crusader in her own right, but acknowledged that Elba helped her along the way.
“I felt like he was holding my hand through the whole thing,” Harris said about her co-star, Elba. “It was a very difficult story to tell – dark and harrowing. We got to go on a journey together.”
While the two had never met prior to filming, they quickly found a connection, which resulted in great on-screen chemistry. The two disclosed to JET that they found they had several things in common outside of being two of Hollywood’s most coveted individuals, including the fact that they both were born on September 6.