justin chadwick

Justin Chadwick

*Director Justin Chadwick admits he was hesitant to take on the story of Nelson Mandela when first approached to direct the adaptation of his 1994 biography.

“How do you even begin to tell that story in a two hour film?” he told journalists at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Ironically, it was at the TIFF three years ago when “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” producer and Mandela’s longtime friend Anant Singh first brought up the idea of the film to Chadwick.

With news today of Mandela’s death at the age of 95, the film – which stars Idris Elba in the title role and has become South Africa’s highest grossing picture ever after opening last week, producers announced today – now takes on even greater significance as a final cinematic tribute to the South Africa’s beloved icon.

Below, Chadwick recalls visiting the Mandelas before production began and how his personal interaction with Nelson Mandela influenced the direction of the movie.