Idris Elba spent hours in make-up for Mandela role

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 6 January 2014
Idris Elba

Idris Elba

Idris Elba spent hours in make-up every day for his role of Nelson Mandela in the biopic 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom'

Idris Elba spent hours in make-up every day for 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom'.

The 41-year-old actor - who plays the late South African president Nelson Mandela in the biopic about his life - spent four hours per day in the cosmetics chair before filming while professionals applied prosthetics.

He has been quoted saying: "I had four hours every day sitting in the chair from 6am. It was tough. I'm normally five minutes in the make-up chair.

"I was shocked. We did a really interesting journey designing the prosthetics.

"I look nothing like Nelson Mandela so it was more Idris actually ageing than Idris turning into Mandela. What came of it was the older we played Mandela, the more I started to look like him, the more the voice, the characteristics and the walk started to come into play."

Elba previously admitted he wanted to portray the legendary civil rights activist as a "real" person by showing his sense of humour and his penchant for women - parts of his personality the public may not be aware of.

He explained: "He's a huge worldwide citizen. Everyone knows what he looks like, what he sounds like. I realised that he has a massive aura. We would always see Mandela on the TV, on the news, but we would never know his aura, it was so big.

"I never met him, but everyone talks about how he walked into a room and you would feel [special] when you met him. He was also very funny and was always making people smile, which is very funny because he seems so serious.

"It's kind of interesting to know that he liked to joke, he's a human. He had his flaws, he had his moments. We wanted to make him real."

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