This is pretty amazing: Idris Elba is going to be playing Nelson Mandela in a new biopic. Normally, I’d say we absolutely don’t need another Mandela biopic. But I think this project is intriguing because it’s meant to focus on Mandela’s on younger years, before he became an icon of non-violent resistance, when he was saying things like this:
Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalize and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war. Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the Government. We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence.
It’s easy to forget, and a lot of people do, that Mandela was imprisoned in the first place in part for his involvement in the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe, which was the armed wing of the African National Congress. If you think about it, casting the guy who played Stringer Bell as a political activist who is trying to organize a unit that was capable of carrying out sabotage and guerilla warfare makes a lot of sense. I’d actually really love to see David Simon, or someone with his sense of organizations, write a big movie about South African anti-apartheid leadership and the apartheid regime.