London - Idris Elba didn't want to be a Nelson Mandela "lookalike" in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
The 41-year-old actor plays the former South African leader in a powerful new biopic, and he insists that his appearance is not important to the role and the story should come first.
Referring to other actors who have played Mandela, he said: "I'm not Morgan Freeman, I'm not Terrence Howard, and I don't look like Nelson Mandela. I don't have that sort of complexion and we are not doing a lookalike story. This is a real story and this guy, Idris Elba, just happens to be playing him."
Elba recently starred in Guillermo del Toro's monsters-versus-aliens summer blockbuster Pacific Rim and he is a big fan of the director.
Quizzed about his favourite del Toro movie, he told Zoo magazine: "Pan's Labyrinth - it's beautifully shot and delicately made. It's the way he blends a war film with a fantasy. Amazing!"
The British actor is also fond of his co-star Charlie Hunnam, who recently dropped out of the lead role in Fifty Shades of Grey.
He enthused: "Charlie and I go back a bit. He has a TV show where he is an iconic character [Sons of Anarchy] and I had a TV show where I was an iconic character in America [The Wire] and we were sharing our experiences.
"We got on really well." (C)
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