Nelson Mandela role was a massive challenge: Idris Elba

Los Angeles: `Luther` actor Idris Elba has revealed that playing Nelson Mandela in the upcoming biopic was a `massive challenge`.

Elba, 41, portrays the former President of South Africa in `Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom`, which chronicles his life journey from childhood to anti-apartheid campaigner, reported Ace Showbiz.

"There were massive challenges, huge challenges. Everything from the performance aspect, I don`t look like Mr Mandela, how do I encapsulate this man?" Elba said at the premiere of the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Early scenes show Mandela as a womaniser who was violent to his first wife Evelyn.

"It was important we had both sides, the good and the bad. I didn`t want to deface Mr Mandela in any way, but I didn`t want to portray him in a way that wasn`t honest.

"The challenges were varied. I moved to South Africa for about three months prior to shooting, just so that I could understand what South Africa was like... So the challenges were massive, but we embraced them. He had a very difficult life, so we weren`t expected to make an easy film," Elba said.