Idris Elba confirms plans to play Nelson Mandela in movie biopic

'The Wire' star says new lead role will be his 'big project' this year

The Wire star Idris Elba has confirmed plans for a film which will see him portray Nelson Mandela.

The star, who made his name playing drug boss Stringer Bell and is also famous for his lead role in the BBC crime thriller Luther, will take on the role of the former South African president in an adaptation of Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom.

Mandela chronicled his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison in his memoir.


Elba told

My big project this year, I’m going to go play Nelson Mandela. That’s where my head is geared to this summer.

The star – who previously revealed that playing Mandela would be one of his dream roles – is the latest star to portray the activist turned politician, following Morgan Freeman in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, David Harewood in Mrs Mandela and Terrence Howard in Winnie.

Rumours of the project first surfaced in December last year. Production on the film is expected to begin later this year.

Elba is currently appearing the Nicolas Cage film Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance.