Singh began communicating with Mandela about making a film based on his life while he was still in prison and acquired the film rights to Mandela's book at the time of its publication in 1996 and development on the film began immediately when Academy Award Nominee, writer William Nicholson (Les Miserables, Gladiator, Shadowlands) signed on. The completion of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom sees the culmination of Singh's most ambitious project to date.
On awarding the film rights to Singh, Mandela had this to say.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, shot in South Africa, started principal photography at the end of May 2012 in KwaZulu-Natal and went on to shoot for 16 weeks at authentic locations in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Mandela's home province, the Eastern Cape with the shoot ending in mid-September 2012.
Commenting on the deal, Singh released the following statement.
Here's what The Weinstein Company co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said in a statement.
Golden Globe winner Idris Elba (Luther, The Wire, Prometheus, Pacific Rim) plays Mandela and Naomie Harris (Skyfall) his wife, Winnie Mandela. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom also features the finest of South Africa's acting talent among whom are Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Zolani Mkiva, Jamie Bartlett, Lindi Matshikiza, Deon Lotz and Terry Pheto.
The deal was negotiated in London by David Glasser and Michal Steinberg for The Weinstein Company and Anant Singh and Alan Grodin of Weintraub Tobin for Distant Horizon. Pathe has acquired the UK and French rights and is handling international sales.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom was released November 29th, 2013 and stars Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Zolani Mkiva, Simo Mogwaza, Fana Mokoena, Thapelo Mokoena. The film is directed by Justin Chadwick.