Weinstein Co. Acquires ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’

Idris Elba and Naomie Harris star in the film

The Weinstein Company has acquired distribution rights to "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" in North America, Australia and New Zealand, the studio said Friday. 

Getty ImagesThe biopic of Nelson Mandela's life draws on the anti-apartheid leader's autobiography of the same name and is directed by Justin Chadwick ("The Other Boleyn Girl") and produced by Anant Singh. William Nicholson ("Gladiator") wrote the script.

Shot in South Africa, the film stars Idris Elba ("The Wire") in the title role and Naomie Harris as his wife Winnie.

"I am extremely passionate about 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,'" TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein said in statement. "Anant Singh first gave the book to me in 1994, when the first edition came out. We have been talking about making this film since 1999. There have been a number of stop and goes, but sometimes things work out for a reason, and Anant Singh has done a masterful job in producing this epic story of our times. Through Anant and Bob De Niro, I met Nelson Mandela, and it was one of the best experiences of my life."

The deal was negotiated in London by David Glasser and Michal Steinberg for TWC 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.