27 November 2013 9:00 AM, PST | Moviefone | See recent Moviefone news »

Idris Elba is mostly known to American audiences for his role as Russell "Stringer" Bell in HBO's hit series "The Wire" and as the titular cop in the BBC drama "Luther" -- but that's starting to change. Earlier this month, he reprised his role as the hulking Asgardian gatekeeper Heimdall in Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World," and he plays -- or, rather, embodies -- South African leader Nelson Mandela in the upcoming biopic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," directed by Justin Chadwick ("The Other Boleyn Girl") and co-starring Naomie Harris ( "Skyfall").

In "Mandela," Elba tackles the icon's life, from his formative days as an anti-apartheid activist to his subsequent arrest, imprisonment, and groundbreaking election as president of South Africa.

Moviefone sat down with Elba earlier this month, just after the release of "Thor: The Dark World," and chatted with the actor about portraying an icon in "Mandela," his planned homecoming trip to Africa, »

- Tim Hayne

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