Naomie Harris struggled with Mandela role

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 30 December 2013
Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris felt "conflicted" portraying Winnie Mandela because she had so many impressions and ideas about her

Naomie Harris felt "conflicted" portraying Winnie Mandela.

The 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' actress admits she struggled to figure out how to play the controversial former wife of the late Nelson Mandela - who was once accused of human rights violations and cheating on her husband - and says meeting her alter ego did little to help her turmoil.

She explained: "From reading about her, I was formulating an idea of who she was. From talking to people I was formulating another idea. My director had a strong idea about how he wanted her to be played ... I felt really torn, conflicted.

"I was scared and fascinated [meeting her]. I thought I would finally be able to put all these pieces together, but I didn't. You can't - especially with someone as complex as her. I asked how she wanted to be portrayed and she said, 'You've done your research, you were chosen for this role, I trust you.' It allowed me to own it."

The stunning actress was offered the role after working with director Justin Chadwick on 'The First Grader' but admits she didn't realise how challenging the role would be because she was too busy shooting James Bond film 'Skyfall'.

She said: "I started doing my research and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, what the hell did I say yes to?' I had no idea about her complexity, that she's a million different people in one."

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