Producer, Anant Singh met with former president, Nelson Mandela late last week and introduced him to Tom Hooper who will direct the film adaptation of Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom. Singh and his company, Videovision Entertainment hold the film rights to the best-selling book. The film is set to be an epic motion picture and the most ambitious South African film project ever mounted. As the film is rooted in Mandela’s autobiography, it will undoubtedly prove to be the definitive Mandela film.
The film adaptation will allow the world to experience the extraordinary story of Mandela’s life – an epic tale of struggle, sacrifice, loss, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph. The film will reveal both visually and historically, the life of Mandela and the freedom movement – a story of soaring inspiration and human suffering. In the same way that Gandhi and Lawrence of Arabia were personifications of the vast struggles they waged, Mandela won the freedom of, and shaped an entire nation. It will also look at Mandela as an international icon, a man of strength, generosity, humanity and of him as a statesman and a man of the people.
Commenting after the meeting, Anant Singh said, “I am delighted that we are able to meet with Madiba, and to introduce him to Tom and to reaffirm his support. As the custodian of the rights, I have a major responsibility to Madiba and to the nation to portray his amazing legacy in a major motion picture. This is a challenging and daunting task and there is no compromise. As a result, it has taken a longer time than one would have liked. We are delighted that all the elements have finally come into place and this is really exciting. In addition, it was lovely to see Madiba in good spirits and recollecting stories of his early days.”
Singh added, “I am pleased that Tom has agreed to direct the Long Walk To Freedom. He did an excellent job directing the award winning Red Dust, based on the novel written by Gillian Slovo. He subsequently directed the multi-award winning mini-series John Adams which is about the American Revolution and the second president of the United States of America. John Adams won four Golden Globes and received the most Emmys awarded to a programme in a single year in the history of American television. I have just seen Tom’s latest film, Damned United which opens in the UK in a few weeks and is tipped to be a huge success. It is very exciting to have him back in South Africa working on Long Walk To Freedom. We also have the excellent writing talents of, Bill Nicholson who wrote Sarafina!. He received an Oscar nomination for Gladiator.”
Tom Hooper commented, “Nelson Mandela is a towering figure of our times, and it has been a great privilege to have had the opportunity to meet him and to watch and listen as he talked – Inspirational, when approaching the responsibility of telling his story.”
Mandela is a long time admirer of Singh and his work and when he awarded the film rights, he commented, “Anant Singh is a producer I respect very much and when we were considering various offers, I personally opted for him. He is a man of tremendous ability and I think that given the resources and support, he can do absolutely excellently.”
CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Achmat Dangor said, “We are pleased that the production of Long Walk To Freedom, which is the official Mandela film, is now underway. This cinematic depiction can add immensely to the powerful story of a remarkable human being. We are sure that Anant Singh and Tom Hooper will do justice to Nelson Mandela’s epic tale.”
Further details on the production of Long Walk To Freedom, including casting and commencement date will be announced shortly.