Laurence Fishburne Talks Playing Nelson Mandela in 'Madiba'

The actor is live in Times Square, revealing what it was like to play Nelson Mandela in the upcoming film, "Madiba."
4:44 | 01/25/17

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Transcript for Laurence Fishburne Talks Playing Nelson Mandela in 'Madiba'
But you know who is going to come here to the table now, that's a hard act to follow but he can do it. We're talking about Tony winning actor Laurence Fishburne. Yes. Good to see you, man. How you doing? Good. Good. How are you? Nice to see you. How are you? Wonderful. Thank you. Hi. Great to see you. Great to see you. Congratulations on the continued success of "Black-ish" and that episode about the election was absolutely wonderful. High note but we are here to talk about "Madiba." "Madiba," yes. So how did you prepare for this role? You know, it's funny, the older I get the more I get that question. I'm kind of like I get more protective. I'm like I'm not telling you about my secret recipe. That's my secret recipe. But, no, I went to South Africa about -- for about two weeks before we shot and I met with people that worked for him, people that were in jail with him, a gentleman named Ahmed kathrota in jail with him on robben island and a woman named Zelda his personal secretary for the last 20 years of his life, afrikaner woman I was able to -- Don't you feel the spirit when you're there. It's -- it was life changing to shoot in South Africa in locations where all of this history really took place. To learn about the anti-apartheid movement from the beginning all the way to his presidency, our story takes place over six hours and so you're going to learn a lot more about all of the people that were involved in dismantling apartheid. Just not Mandela himself. Is it intimidating to take on an icon like that. You know what, it's funny, I said yes to it and was fine and excited and just kind of honored and then 15 minutes later I kind of panicked. You know. Yeah. But I've played a character who prepared me for this. I played Thurgood Marshall in 2008. Yes, you did. Yes, you did. So beautifully too. Thank you. And when I went to south Africa and I was at the Mandela foundation I went into a room where they have a lot of his personal effects and things and there was a bust of Thurgood Marshall amongst his personal effects and I have the same bust that was presented to me by the Thurgood foundation so when I saw that I thought, oh, okay, this is going to be fine. It's okay. I'll be okay. Would you all like to see a little bit of "Madiba"? Right here. We will no longer run to the quarry but we will walk. We are awaiting your orders, sergeant. Walk. We need this story right now because, you know, when Nelson Mandela came out of imprisonment he could have retaliate. He could advantage angry but he was just the opposite. Yes, yes, he was -- he was a master statesman, a natural diplomat. Yo know, the most shining example of leadership that perhaps we've seen in centuries and so certainly we need examples like that. Reconciliation. That's what he was all about. Superhuman ability to transform anger into something positive. Yeah and a determination. I asked Ahmed who was in jail with him, you know, how did they manage to just persevere how many year, decades in jail. He said we knew we were right and we knew we were going to win. So the idea that they knew that they were correct, that, you know, inequality and prejudice and those kind of things just don't make any sense for all of us is just, you know, it was really inspiring? I'm loving it because we got a lot of students here in our audience and for them you make sure you see this. It's a wonderful series. You are -- thank you. Always, always a privilege. Thank you. Thank you.

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

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