Antoine Fuqua to direct feature documentary on Nelson Mandela

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Published: Mon 12 Feb 2024, 3:08 PM

Filmmaker Antoine Fuqua is set to direct a feature documentary on former South African President Nelson Mandela, according to Variety.

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A press release said the documentary, tentatively titled Troublemaker: The Story Behind the Mandela Tapes, will use newly discovered audio interviews with Mandela himself to provide an "honest, accurate, and definitive depiction" of the man who remains a global symbol of justice, hope, and universal human dignity.

The Training Day director has collaborated with Mandela's close friend and former cellmate Mac Maharaj, who will be the executive producer. While spending 12 years with Mandela in a cramped cell on Robben Island, Maharaj transcribed his autobiography and eventually smuggled it out of jail. He later became a minister in Nelson Mandela's government.

"Using recently discovered audio interviews of Mandela intimately recounting his life experiences, as well as the personal reflections and insights of Maharaj, the film will reveal the forces that shaped the global icon that is Nelson Mandela," reads the logline. "Jailed for 27 years, this pioneering activist lawyer turned freedom fighter walked from prison into a country on the brink of a violent racial conflagration to become the first democratically elected president of South Africa."

According to Variety, Maharaj will also lend his own experience and insight to the project, shedding light on details such as how he managed to set up an illicit communication link for Mandela to be able to speak to the ANC leadership in exile.

"It's an honour to bring to the screen the untold story of Mandela, a man I've revered my entire life," Fuqua said. "For decades, Mandela and his comrades were put through the most inhumane conditions imaginable. Yet they came out of jail with love and forgiveness in their hearts, and rather than seeking vengeance, they sought to unite the country. His compassion and inner strength enabled Mandela to make meaningful change. This film will investigate how Mandela came through his ordeals with his humanity intact, and reveal the tough and shrewd politician behind his iconic 'nice guy' persona. I'm incredibly fortunate to be partnered on this project with Mac Maharaj, whose experiences, intelligence and encyclopedic memory of his years alongside Mandela are invaluable."

Maharaj added, "I have longed to see the story of Nelson Mandela, and his decades-long fight and sacrifice for freedom, equality and justice told in an authentic, complex and revelatory way. It is a story that is more relevant to humanity today, than ever. I am thrilled that a director of Antoine Fuqua's skill, creativity, and integrity has agreed to take on this challenging task."

Fuqua began filming in South Africa, interviewing several of Mandela's former comrades and other crucial persons who knew the man affectionately known as Madiba.

The film is produced by Arthur Landon of Lorton Entertainment and Mark Bauch and financed by Lorton Entertainment, the company behind films such as Rooney and Supersonic. Maharaj serves as the executive producer alongside Gordon Metz, Hipster Media's Markus Davies, and Zig Zag Productions' Matt Graff and Danny Fenton.

"During a time of political uncertainty and unrest around the world, this film aims to rekindle the influence of a truly great leader and show how a humble but determined lawyer became one of the greatest politicians in history," said Landon and Bauch. "We are incredibly fortunate and excited to be partnered with Antoine, who has an incredible vision to show the world a side of Mandela we've never seen before, and Mac Maharaj, a true South African icon who fought the struggle alongside Mandela, and is a resource unlike any other," reported Variety. ANI


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