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Nelson Mandela, left, in 1952 when he was just four years older than actor Idris Elda, right, is now. PA Images

The Wire star to take up Nelson Mandela role in May

British actor Idris Elba – best known as Stringer Bell in HBO TV series – is to star in Long Walk to Freedom.

A BRITISH ACTOR who because noticed for his role as ambitious gangster Stringer Bell in cult television series The Wire will now play Nelson Mandela in a biopic.

Idris Elba is to begin filming on Long Walk to Freedom on 26 May, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The movie comes from Pathé productions, which produced the recent Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep.

The Mandela movie has been in the pipeline for the best part of a decade and a half when South African producer Anant Singh secured the movie rights to the Mandela autobiography, also called Long Walk to Freedom. (The BBC have a powerful slideshow here which tracks the progress of South Africa, and Mandela himself, from segregation to his release from 27 years of imprisonment to his election as President of South Africa).

The movie is to be shot in many of the locations where Mandela’s life story unfolded, including at Robben Island where he was held for much of his 27 years of imprisonment until 1990.

Mandela, now 93, was hospitalised with a stomach problem last month and underwent surgery.

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