idris elba mandela

*Director Justin Chadwick’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this week to a standing O for the cast, which features Idris Elba in the title role.

At a press conference for the film, Elba said he was unable to meet with the man he portrays due the South African icon’s fragile state.

“Like everybody, we’ve been concerned for his health, but keeping ourselves optimistic, and our prayers go to his family,” Elba said.

Below, the 41-year-old actor explains how he was able to craft a portrayal of Mandela without ever getting to meet him face to face.

“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” premieres in theaters on Nov. 29.

Below, the film’s new trailer, released Wednesday, Sept. 11: