Mandela’s life on screen

Mandela’s life on screenHe led a life filled with drama, struggle and political triumph, so it comes as little surprise that Nelson Mandela – who passed away this week at the age of 95 – was one of the most portrayed global figures of the past 50 years.
Actors including Danny Glover, Sidney Poitier and Morgan Freeman have all played the former president of South Africa on screen.
The most recent actor to take on the role is British star Idris Elba, who plays the lead in a film adaptation of Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk To Freedom”.
News of the leader’s death was announced at the end of the film’s royal gala screening in London on Thursday.
The mission for all those actors, aside from capturing Mandela’s famous voice and mannerisms, has been to find the man beneath the popular image.
Peter Machen, the director of the Durban Film Festival, agrees it is a hard role to pull off, and goes beyond mere physical likeness.
“He was one of the icons of the 20th Century and you can only go so far with make-up and prosthetics. People are always going to see what is not there, rather than what is there with this particular performance.”
Arguably the most famous of the big screen portrayals of Mandela was Morgan Freeman’s Oscar-nominated performance in Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus”. The film told the story of Mandela’s attempts to unite the South African nation behind their national rugby union team, the Springboks, as the country prepared to host the 1995 World Cup. Rugby was seen by black South Africans as a “white Afrikaner sport” and at games they would support whichever team was playing South Africa. Before production, Mandela himself had apparently given his blessing to the casting of Freeman.
“I met him early on and told him that if it did come to pass, that this movie would be made, that I would need total access to him – to be able to look into his eyes and hold his hand. And he agreed.” said Freeman.
In 2012, it was the turn of another Oscar nominee, in the form of Terrence Howard, star of “Hustle & Flow”. He played a much younger Mandela in the 2011 film “Winnie” – which focused on Mandela’s former wife, played in this version by Jennifer Hudson. The Guardian called Howard’s performance “brooding, over-reaching”.
Similar criticisms were levelled at British actor David Harewood, who took on Mandela in the BBC Four drama “Mrs Mandela”, where he starred opposite the Bafta-nominated Sophie Okonedo.
American actor Dennis Haysbert starred opposite Joseph Fiennes in the drama “Goodbye Bafana” in 2007, a fictionalised story of the relationship beween Mandela and his prison guard. The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Golden Bear, the festival’s top prize. Speaking to journalists at the time, Haysbert said “Every night I went home, I would have a glass of wine and just cry. The sacrifices he made were profoundly sad to me.”
Both Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine were in the running for a Golden Globe for their 1997 film “Mandela and de Klerk”.
Ten years earlier, Danny Glover took on the title role in a TV movie simply titled “Mandela” and was nominated for an Emmy the following year. That was still two years before Mandela’s release from prison.
Even before that, actor George Harris played Mandela in an episode of the BBC series “Prisoners of Conscience” in 1981. But the earliest known performance came from the little-known actor Simon Sabela; in 1966, he played Mandela in the German TV dramatisation of his 1963 Rivonia trial. Ultimately, Machen believes none of the films have so far captured Mandela. “They work dramatically and they work in terms of narrative,” he says. “But they don’t work in the ultimate sense of being completely convincing.”

-With BBC input

Related News

Priyanka Chopra breaks down hearing the refugees’ stories

Entertainment Desk : dhakamirror.com Priyanka Chopra, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, uploaded a video from her trip to Poland, where she met refugees from Ukraine who had to abandon their country because of the Russian invasion. She spent time with women and children, and posted information on social media about the biggest global refugee issue. In ... Read more

Naomi Campbell receives honorary doctorate

Naomi Campbell is one of the most influential people in the fashion world. She has officially earned her doctorate. The University for the Creative Arts recently conferred an honorary doctorate on the former supermodel.The University for the Creative Arts awarded him this award for his outstanding contribution to the world of international fashion over several ... Read more

Bill Gates is donating his foundation a new amount of $20 billion to address global concerns

News Desk : dhakamirror.comTo confront the “massive global challenges” the world is experiencing, Bill Gates announced on Wednesday that he will donate $20 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.In a statement, Gates said that the foundation, which he and his ex-wife Melinda French Gates founded in 2000, now aims to spend $9 billion ... Read more

Taylor Swift gets honorary doctorate from New York University

Taylor Swift, an American singer-songwriter, has received an honorary doctorate from the New York University in fine arts. Ms Swift turned up at New York’s Yankee Stadium in a cap, blue gown, and a black dress. The singer, 32, was in attendance for the ceremony at the Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, where she joined the ... Read more

Actress Mim appointed UNICEF national ambassador in Bangladesh

National Film Award winning actress Bidya Sinha Saha Mim has been appointed UNICEF’s newest national ambassador in Bangladesh. As a UNICEF National Ambassador, Mim joins prominent personalities around the world who use their voice and prominence to advocate for the rights of children, said a press release. ‘Across our country, UNICEF is there with us ... Read more

Rihanna Debuts On Forbes Annual Billionaires List

Rihanna has officially joined Forbes’ billionaire list for the first time in her highly successful career. The singer and Fenty Beauty founder was named a billionaire by the outlet in August, and still retains that status. She has a net worth of $1.7 billion, according to Forbes, and is the 1,729th richest person in the world. ... Read more

Bruce Willis ‘stepping away’ from acting following aphasia diagnosis

The family of Bruce Willis has announced the actor is set to retire after being diagnosed with aphasia, a language disorder typically occurring after a stroke or brain injury, significantly affects a person’s ability to communicate. On March 30, the 67-year-old actor’s family announced the news via an Instagram post with an update on Willis’s ... Read more

Bhumi Pednekar collaborates with UNDP for gender equality campaign

Bollywood actress Bhumi Pednekar will be collaborating with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to promote gender equality campaign. The year-long campaign titled “‘Women at Work – Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Future Tomorrow’ will help to raise awareness regarding the challenges women face in career paths and how a sustainable future can be ... Read more

Angelina Jolie Makes Impassioned Plea for equal treatment for Ukranian refugees

Special Envoy to the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees and actress Angelina Jolie has shared a message of support for Ukrainians who have had to flee their homes due to Russia’s invasion, as well as refugees worldwide. Turning to her Instagram on Thursday, the actor and UNICEF ambassador noted that one million people have ... Read more

Britney Spears to write book detailing her conservatorship

Popular singer Britney Spears has reportedly signed a lucrative $15 million deal to write a tell-all book. She will address her career, personal life, and family in the memoir, as she reportedly signed a landmark deal with known publishers Simon & Schuster. According to reports, Simon & Schuster reached the deal during a bidding war ... Read more

Naomi Campbell ends rumours, reveals her daughter isn’t adopted

While Naomi Campbell tends to be private about her personal life, she’s decided to get candid about the joys of being a mom to her daughter, whom she welcomed in May 2021. Though Campbell has yet to reveal the name of her daughter, she did disclose other details about her little one. “She wasn’t adopted ... Read more

Rihanna pledges $15 million to climate justice

Pop singer Rihanna’s foundation, the Clara Lionel Foundation, is donating $15 million to organizations combating climate change and striving for social justice. “Climate disasters, which are growing in frequency and intensity, do not impact all communities equally, with communities of color and island nations facing the brunt of climate change,” the pop singer said in ... Read more

Celebs in support of Emma Watson following Palestinian solidarity post

Celebrities have extended their support for Emma Watson who faced backlash for sharing ‘solidarity’ with Palestinians. Around 40 stars have shared a joint statement to condemn the accusations of anti-Semitism, raised by a former UN envoy from Israel, against Watson last week. “We join Emma Watson in support of the simple statement that ‘solidarity is ... Read more

Aishwarya Rai to attend Expo 2020 Dubai

Bollywood actress and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is going to attend the Expo 2020 Dubai-mega event this week in an initiative to empower women, according to a report on an Indian entertainment website. According to Khaleej Times, Aishwarya Rai is currently in Paris to participate in several brands that she represents. She was also ... Read more

Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding dies of breast cancer

Sarah Harding, singer with the English chart-topping band Girls Aloud, has died aged 39 following a battle with breast cancer. The singer’s mother Marie confirmed the news on her daughter’s official Instagram account on Sunday. “It’s with deep heartbreak that today I’m sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away,” her ... Read more

Maradona laid to rest

Huge crowds bade a grief-filled farewell to Argentina’s favourite son Diego Maradona before the football legend was buried on the outskirts of Buenos Aires after a chaotic public wake. The 1986 World Cup winner widely regarded as one of the greatest players in history was laid to rest on Thursday after a ceremony attended by ... Read more

Bollywood superstar Sridevi dies of heart attack

Bollywood actress Sridevi, whose acting prowess and beguiling eyes helped her rule Bollywood in 1980s, died of cardiac arrest in Dubai at the age of 54 plunging the Indian cinema industry into mourning. Sridevi who had gone to Dubai along with her family to attend the wedding of her nephew a few days ago, passed ... Read more

DiCaprio gives 7m for ocean conservation

Leonardo DiCaprio has pledged $7 million for ocean conservation, reports femalefirst.co.uk. The ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ actor spoke at the State Department’s Our Ocean Conference in Washington yesterday (17.06.14), to decry ‘’the Wild West on the high seas’ and called for moves to curb ‘plundering the ocean and its vital resources’ as he vowed to ... Read more

Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban sing for sick children

Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman and singer husband Keith Urban performed for sick children at a hospital, reports India Today. The couple sang an emotional version of Amazing Grace in front of patients, their families and members of staff at the Monash Children’s Hospital in Australia yesterday, reported Female First. The 46-year-old singer pulled out

Entertainment world pays tribute to Mandela

The news of the death of Nelson Mandela broke during a royal gala screening of the autobiographical film Long Walk to Freedom in London, reports BBC online. The screening was attended by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as two of Mandela’s daughters. Idris Elba, who plays