Idris Elba's 'Mandela' Portrayal Getting Oscar Buzz

The 'Thor: The Dark World' actor discusses how he prepared for his role in the biopic.
2:47 | 11/14/13

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Transcript for Idris Elba's 'Mandela' Portrayal Getting Oscar Buzz
He is starting right now in the blockbuster story, "the dark world." And getting oscar buzz for a different role, the legendary role of nelson mandela. Take a look. I have challenged the idea that a free and democratic society, where all persons live together, in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. You see the power of the man right there. Idris elba right here. Thank you for coming back. Good morning, man. I love this anecdote. I heard that nelson mandela saw a clip of the film later in the film. And he thought it was a news clip. There's a scene where I'm walking. You can't see my face. But he's got the shirt. And I'm walking up a hill. And he looked up and said, is that me? How did you do that? I took that as a compliment. I would certainly take that as a compliment. But it has to be intimidating. Nelson mandela, one of the most recognized people in the last century, a hero. How do you get inside that? I mean, you know, what you don't do is kind of get nervous by that. Even though it is nerve-racking. But just had to embrace it. I wanted to do a good job. I didn't want to do an impersonation of him. I wanted to do an interpretation of him. The audience go along, knowing that I don't look like him. But you know, they're going to watch this performance. It was such an honor, as well. A real honor. I'm sure it is. And one of the things you d because it does cover the breadth of his life, you see the transformation. I START IN HIS 20s. Look at me. AND I END UP IN HIS 70s. And there's a long, sort of mapped out journey of his life. But it was such fun. We shot it in south africa for six months. It was great. And you spent the night? I went to robin island. I wanted to get context of what it was like. The he can spend 19 years in that prison cell. I tried it. Can you imagine spending 18 years. When I got to the cell, they gave me a cell phone and said, for insurance purposes, you have to have this cell phone. You sure you want to stay? He locked the gate. Locked the second gate. Locked the third gate. And it was me by myself. I checked the phone and of course, there was no signal. Okay. The performance is amazing. Congratulations.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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