Actor Idris Elba’s personal journey exploring the music of South Africa and Nelson Mandela, while coping with the death of his father, is the subject of the just-released documentary “Mandela, My Dad and Me.”
The co-production of Elba’s Green Door Pictures, documentary maker Woodcut Media and Shine North follows Elba on his 2013 journey to South Africa while he filmed the feature “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”
Elba said he was greatly influenced by the musical culture of South Africa, knowledge he expanded while filming the Mandela biopic. The British actor recorded an album, “mi Mandela,” based on his research for the film role. He said that his research of music that Mandela listened to daily through his long struggle against apartheid was key in his understanding of the renowned nationalist leader.
Just as Elba left to record an album of the music in South Africa and Mali near the end of 2013, his father died. The film by director Daniel Vernon then morphed into an exploration of not just the music but also of the actor’s grief.
Nicholas Yearwood, head of development at Green Door, said Vernon’s doc “perfectly captures Idris’ personal and professional challenges, whilst he tackled arguably the most iconic and important role of his career.”
Executive producers are Elba and Yearwood of Green Door, Derren Lawford from Woodcut Media, and Alex Connock and Rick Murray from Shine North and Jeremy Lee. The film is co-financed by Green Door Pictures and media advisory firm Bob & Co. It will be distributed by Content Media.