'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' trailer: Meet Idris Elba's Nelson Mandela, certified badass

“He was public enemy No. 1, hunted by the police, feared by the government. Revolutionary. Outlaw. Rebel. Fighter.”

Are we talking about a fictional action hero — a vigilante in the tradition of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, or maybe some kind of Bourne descendent?

Nope: Those are the words used to describe none other than South African political leader Nelson Mandela in the following trailer. Though the nonagenarian revolutionary — the ailing icon just celebrated the big 9-5; happy birthday, Your Excellency! — is best known today as a smiling, stooped old man, he was quite the debonair radical until he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1962. Mandela was released in 1990 and elected president of South Africa just four years later.

In Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the man himself is played by Idris Elba — who knows how to smolder and inspire in equal measure, even while delivering occasionally clunky dialogue. (“You are Winnie Madikizela, the first black social worker they’ve ever hired,” he says to the woman who will become his second wife, played here by Naomi Harris. “And you are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.”)

See South Africa’s savior speed away from exploding bombs, be called a womanizer, and exhibit more un-Gandhi-like (and un-Gandhi-like) behavior in the clip below.













Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will open in the U.S. on Nov. 29.

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