I expected it would drop today, given that it’s his 95th birthday.

So here it is folks, the first full trailer for MandelaLong Walk to Freedom, starring Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela, in a film directed by Justin Chadwick, which highlights Mandela’s early life, education and 27 years in prison. 

The Weinstein Company will open it on November 29 – likely as one of its Oscar contenders. 

Producers have said that the film will have an “epic sweep,” from a script written by GladiatorShadowlands and Les Miserables writer, William Nicholson.

South African stars Tony KgorogeRiaad Moosa, Zolani MkivaJamie Bartlett, Lindiwe MatshikizaDeon Lotz and Terry Pheto, round out the cast.

Happy 95th birthday Mr Mandela, or should I say Madiba; Needless to say, he’s lived quite a lengthy and involved life.

A life that has been, and will continue to be the subject of scripted films and documentaries.

Great black actors like Sidney PoitierDennis HaysbertMorgan FreemanDavid Harewood and most recently Terrence Howard have all played him, whether in projects that were specifically centered around him, or in which his wife, Winnie Mandela, was the focus.

However, in looking over all those films – even those in which his story was the highlight, the narrative always included his relation to some specific white man – in Mandela and de Clerk (Poitier & Michael Caine); Goodbye Bafana (Haysbert and Ralph Fiennes as a prison guard responsible for Mandela, and the relationship they had); and Invictus (Freeman and Matt Damon as captain of the South African Springboks rugby team).

So really, I can’t say that any of them has focused solely on Mandela’s life, absent of any white co-pilot; meaning, there hasn’t been what I’d call the definitive Nelson Mandela film or TV series (and I’m talking strictly about scripted narratives here, not including documentaries), which, if you think about it, is a shame, given the global awareness of this icon of a human being.

Hopefully, that will be corrected this year, as Idris Elba’s Long Walk to Freedom, which is said to be a definitive work on the life of Nelson Mandela, will open in theaters on November 29, courtesy of The Weinstein Company. 

Check out the first full trailer below; I must say, in watching this, that it’s going to be rather difficult to *see* Mandela, and not Idris Elba *playing* Mandela. But I’ll reserve further commentary until I see the entire film: