As the world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela, scores of celebrities, activists, and politicians have taken to social media to pay their respects. But, not many of these high-profile fans can say they've actually played the South African civil rights leader on the big screen. Not so with actors Morgan Freeman and Idris Elba. The actors each released statements sharing their sorrow, as well as their gratitude for the opportunity to have brought Mandela's legacy to life.
Elba, star of The Wire and Luther (a.k.a. the best series on Netflix you're not watching), portrays the Nobel laureate in the upcoming biopic Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. "I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba's family," Elba said in a statement. "We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth, I only feel honoured to be associated with him. He is in a better place now."
Freeman played Mandela in 2009's Invictus, which depicts the political climate when the newly-elected president was uniting the country behind the national rugby team in 1995. In a statement as eloquent as any of his silver-screen monologues, Freeman took an inspirational stance. "Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honour, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve — a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind," Freeman wrote. "As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we've come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us."
It's clear that stepping into the shoes of one of the world's most iconic leaders did more than just lengthen these actors' resumés. (NME)