JOHANNESBURG, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Former South
African President Nelson Mandela has met with the director who will be adapting
his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom into a film, the South African Press
Association quoted Anant Singh's production company Videovision Entertainment as
saying on Friday.
In a statement the company said Singh, the producer
of the film and director Tom Hooper met Mandela last Friday.
"I am delighted that we are able to meet with Madiba, and to introduce him to Tom and to reaffirm his support," said Singh after the meeting.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela is flanked by his grandson Mandla Mandela (L) and ANC president Jacob Zuma during an electoral rally in the Easterncape February 15, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
"As the custodian of the rights, I have a major
responsibility to Madiba and to the nation to portray his amazing legacy in a
major motion picture."
Singh said it was a challenging and daunting task and
as a result the process had taken longer.
"We are delighted that all the elements have finally
come into place and this is really exciting. In addition, it was lovely to see
Madiba in good spirits and recollecting stories of his early days."
Singh said he was pleased that Hooper had agreed to direct the film as he had done an excellent job directing the award winning Red Dust, based on the novel by Gillian Slovo.
Former South African president Nelson Mandela smiles as South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki shares a toast at the Loftus stadium in Pretoria August 2, 2008, during a rally organised by the ANC to celebrate Mandela's 90th birthday. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Hooper subsequently directed the multi award-winning
mini-series John Adams, about the American Revolution and the second president
of the United States of America.
"It is very exciting to have him back in South Africa
working on Long Walk To Freedom. We also have the excellent writing talents of
Bill Nicholson who wrote Sarafina!"
Nicholson won an Oscar for the movie Gladiator. After
meeting Madiba Hooper said it had been a great privilege.
"Nelson Mandela is a towering figure of our times,
and it has been a great privilege to have had the opportunity to meet him and to
watch and listen as he talked," he said.
Mandela is a long time admirer of Singh and his work
and when the film rights were awarded a few years ago he said then that he had
personally opted for him.
"Anant Singh is a producer I respect very much and
when we were considering various offers, I personally opted for him.
"He is a man of tremendous ability and I think that
given the resources and support, he can do absolutely excellently," said Madiba
at the time.
CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Achmat Dangor,
said the cinematic depiction could add immensely to the powerful story of a
remarkable human being.
"We are pleased that the production of Long Walk To
Freedom, which is the official Mandela film, is now underway. We are sure that
Anant Singh and Tom Hooper will do justice to Nelson Mandela's epic tale," he
Videovision said the film was set to be an epic
motion picture and the most ambitious South African film project ever mounted.
As the film is rooted in Mandela's autobiography, the
company said it would undoubtedly prove to be the definitive Mandela film.
The film will reveal both visually and historically,
the life of Mandela and the freedom movement -- a story of soaring inspiration
and human suffering.
"In the same way that Gandhi and Lawrence of Arabia
were personifications of the vast struggles they waged, Mandela won the freedom
of, and shaped an entire nation," said Videovision.
It would also look at Mandela as an international
icon, a man of strength, generosity, humanity and of him as a statesman and a
man of the people.
Further details on the production of Long Walk To
Freedom, including casting and commencement date will be announced