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Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Trailer

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | July 15, 2013 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | July 15, 2013 |

I usually try to put something clever in the title, some play on words to grab you and titillate you, but in this case I felt that would simply be burying the lede. Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela. Boom, done. I think we’re all on board. I mean, there’s a trailer and a wonderful poster, both of which I’ve placed for your convenience below, but really I think everyone in this readership simply needed a date, time, and location. November 29th, America. January 3rd, Britain. Hah! That’s for the Boer War you poxy berks!

Here’s the teaser trailer, which includes Idris Elba talking, so I’ve been warned that may in and of itself make it NSFW for some of you:

And here’s the poster:


Mandela has been reportedly close to death for some time now, hospitalized. I used to wonder about biographical films like this, had a whole chip on my shoulder about them, how they cut and sanitize and rewrite in order to turn all the convoluted complexity of history into neat little packages of quotes and feel good moments. But I think the mistake was in ever thinking that movies are intended to be history in and of themselves.

That’s not to say that they should make whatever changes they feel like to make the story better, but I think that we need to remember sometimes that movies are the stories we tell ourselves, the ways we compress the years and decades of slow development down into something we can wrap our minds around, something that we can pass on to those who weren’t there. The history, at its broadest, is the terrain. And the movie is the map, stylized to be sure, incapable of conveying the miles under our feet, of detailing every last turn in the road. But capable of showing even if just to ourselves, that this is the path we traced.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.