Watch: Idris Elba Channel Anti-Apartheid Activist Nelson Mandela In ‘Mandela’

Yesterday, July 18, was Madiba’s (Nelson Mandela) 95th birthday, and even though he is going through a serious health scare, it also is the right time for the Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom trailer, which features Idris Elba.

The clip promises to unravel the story of the man behind the movement, as Idris Elba plays the radical activist with Naomi Harris playing his love interest. Long Walk delves into his past, his increasing frustrations with the way South Africa was governed, the crippling apartheid and his own desire to simply see his children live in freedom.

Elba has an especially tough role here, as Madiba is one of the most recognizable faces all around the world, and while much of the film appears to take place when the wider world wasn’t awash in news coverage about the leader we know today, audience preconceptions are inevitable will need to be placed in check.

Directed by Justin Chadwick (The First Grader) and produced by The Weinstein Company, the cast also features Gys de Villiers, Robert Hobbs and Theo Landey. It will arrive in theaters on January 3, 2014.

Props: Shadow And Act