Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: how the accents were perfected
Nelson Mandela, who fought for decades to end racial oppression in South Africa, has died just weeks before the wide release of a movie telling the story of his life. The film, titled “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” chronicles its subject’s early life, the quarter-century he spent in prison, and his rise to become the first-ever black president of South Africa. He has since remained a symbol of the long fight against the apartheid regime. Mandela is played by the British actorIdris Elba in the film, which is set to debut in theaters across the U.S. on Christmas Day.The movie is being distributed by the Weinstein Co. and was directed by Justin Chadwick. PHOTOS: Actors whove portrayed Nelson Mandela on screen It has already built some momentum during its limited release. Launched in four theaters on Friday, Nov. 29, the film made about $84,300through that weekend, for an average ofmore than $21,000 per screen. “Its been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of historys greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice,” Harvey Weinstein, TWC’s co-chairman, said in a statement released hours after Mandela’s death. “I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism.” In South African theaters, it opened at No. 1, outgrossing the likes of “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “World War Z,” “The Wolverine” and “Hangover 3.” Elba has been identified by Academy Award prognosticators as a potential Oscar candidate for his performance. ALSO:
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Mandela: The Movie
The emphasis of the film was almost equally on Nelson and Winnie Mandela and critics were reportedly struck, as so often, by the careful and honest job of impersonation carried out by Howard yet somehow it was felt to be lifeless, and lacking the gusto this actor brings to darker roles with less baggage. Link to video: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: watch the full-length trailer Idris Elba came to the role perhaps knowing that he would be the last actor to portray Mandela in his lifetime. Based on Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, The Long Walk to Freedom gives us a sweeping overview of Mandela’s struggles personal and political. Elba is required to play Mandela from young lawyer, to ANC recruit to the elderly freedom fighter that walked out of Robben Island. It is a necessarily big performance – self-consciously hefty at times but Elba has the great man’s underlying sparkle. Reading on a mobile?
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In the case of Idris, it was the opening words of the script adapted from Mandelas Rivonia trial speech from 1964: I am Nelson Mandela, the first accused. I do not deny that I have planned sabotage. Actors often hear South African crew members talking during the filming process and they start imitating what they hear. This results in an inauthentic accent bits of one accent fused with sounds from another, which does not make auditory sense. I consider authenticity of sound and cultural framework paramount to reflecting our society truthfully and with respect. The challenge in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom for all the actors was how to reflect the age of the characters in the voice and accurately depict the era. The film spans 50 years and I tried to capture the sounds of each decade individually, starting with the colonial influence of British accents, shifting to the strong sounds of the Afrikaans influence and moving toward the multifaceted sounds embracing the countrys 11 official languages as it moved toward liberation. Related Articles Naomie Harris interview: ‘Winnie Mandela terrified me’ 02 Jan 2014 The essence of a South African voice irrespective of accent is warmth. I aimed to inject all the voices with warm tones and timbres. The dialogue coach on a film teaches not only the accent but helps the actor with cultural reference, idiom, custom and behaviour. The dialogue coach therefore aids in the creating of a character.
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