Idris Elba has played some great characters in his acting career, but none more important, pertinent and challenging that than of Nelson Mandela in Mandela, which has today been handed a fantastic theatrical trailer. Take a look at Elba in action below.

Click here for the Mandela theatrical trailer

Mandela sees Elba stretch his vocal chords into different shapes once again, this time with a South African accent, which, judging by the trailer, is right on the Rand. His role as Stringer Bell in HBO’s hit crime drama The Wire endeared him to an American audience, many of which weren’t aware he was an English native, born in Hackey, London no less.

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Elba and Naomie Harris star in Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom

He is perhaps best known for his role as part of the Baltimore drug ring, but British audiences have been treated to his work as Luther of late. The maverick cop who doesn’t mind bending the rules to procure justice has proven to be very popular, and after three series of the BBC drama, a film is being sincerely talked about.

While Mandela is an outsider for Best Film at The Oscar – it currently stands a 10/1, which we think is certainly worth a few bucks – Elba himself is the favourite for the Best Actor nod, currently sitting at 4/1. His only contender, as far as we can see, is Chiwetel Ejiofor who plays Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

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Elba's biggest acting challenge - Mandela

Born in 1972, Elba worked his way through a familiar British path to see his acting career come into fruition. His move to America to star alongside fellow Brit Dominic West in The Wire, though, was off the beaten track, and provided invaluable experience for the talented actor, as well as establishing himself to an American market.

His latest work couldn’t be more different to his current; Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim sees him command a rebel group of soldiers in charge of Jaegers – gargantuan robots tasked with battling similarly sized alien monsters from the depths of the sea. From Hollywood blockbuster to political biopic, Elba’s adaptability has seen him move firmly in the frame for the James Bond job when it becomes available.

Idris Elba Pacific RimIdris Elba in Pacific Rim

South African’s were distracted from the current state of Mandela’s health yesterday (July 19) as the legendary leader celebrated his 95th birthday – a miraculous feat considering the context of his life. His daughter Zindzi, who gifted him a collage of family photos, said "Tata (our father) is making this remarkable progress and we look forward to having him back home soon." (The Guardian)

President Jacob Zuma paid a visit, reporting afterwards: "He continues to respond positively to treatment and we are encouraged by that progress being made. When I visited him today, I found him really stable and I was able to say 'happy birthday' and he was able to smile."

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom gets a limited release on November 29th, while English audiences will have to wait until January 3rd to see their native as the South African icon. We at Contact Music want to wish Nelson Mandela a full and healthy recovery and hope he gets the chance to see his film.

Nelson MandelaMandela back in 2008