Laurence Fishburne is set to play the lead role of Nelson Mandela in Madiba, a miniseries for BET Networks executive produced by the late South African hero’s grandson Kweku Mandela. The six-hour mini, directed by Kevin Hooks (Prison Break), is based on two Mandela books, Conversations With Myself and Nelson Mandela by Himself. Named after Madiba, the Thembu clan to which Nelson Mandela belonged, the project tells the story of a younger Nelson Mandela during the early-60s as he deals with the political unrest engulfing South Africa.
Madiba will be produced and financed by Toronto-based Blue Ice Pictures and also produced by UK-based Left Bank Pictures and South Africa’s Out of Africa Entertainment in association with Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions. Blue Ice Pictures president Lance Samuels executive produces alongside Kweku Mandela of Out of Africa and Daniel Iron, Neil Tabatznik, Steven Silver, Andy Harries, Marigo Kehoe and Loretha Jones.
Pre-production will begin later this year, with production slated for early 2016 in South Africa.
“Nelson Mandela’s journey of political activism and leadership is deeply inspirational and we are proud to have the talented and award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne join Madiba to tell this triumphant story” said Stephen Hill, President of Programming, BET Networks.
Fishburne executive produces and co-stars on the ABC comedy series Black-ish and will be seen next summer in Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice. He recently signed on to star in the A&E remake of Roots and is in production on Sony’s romantic sci-fi drama Passengers starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.
Fishburne, Hooks and Blue Ice Pictures are repped by Paradigm. Fishburne is additionally repped by manager and producing partner Helen Sugland and attorneys Nina Shaw and Jeff Finkelstein.
There have been a number of feature and TV movies about Mandela, with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning anti-apartheid activist and political prisoner-turned-president portrayed by such actors as Morgan Freeman, Sidney Poitier, Idris Elba, Dennis Haysbert, Terrence Howard and Danny Glover.