Antoine Fuqua is currently directing a feature documentary about Nelson Mandela, with the working title Troublemaker: The Story Behind the Mandela Tapes.

The project, financed by Lorton Entertainment, is also executive produced by Mac Maharaj, Mandela’s close-confidante and cellmate on Robben Island for twelve years. Production started in South Africa last year, with Fuqua filming interviews with several of Mandela’s former comrades and many other key figures across the country.

Using recently discovered audio interviews of Mandela intimately recounting his life experiences, as well as the personal reflections and insights of Maharaj, the film will reveal the forces that shaped the global icon that is Nelson Mandela.

Director Antoine Fuqua says, “It’s an honour to bring to the screen the untold story of Mandela, a man I’ve revered my entire life. For decades Mandela and his comrades were put through the most inhumane conditions imaginable. Yet they came out of jail with love and forgiveness in their hearts, and rather than seeking vengeance, they sought to unite the country. His compassion and inner strength enabled Mandela to make meaningful change. This film will investigate how Mandela came through his ordeals with his humanity intact, and reveal the tough and shrewd politician behind his iconic ‘nice guy’ persona. I’m incredibly fortunate to be partnered on this project with Mac Maharaj, whose experiences, intelligence and encyclopaedic memory of his years alongside Mandela are invaluable.”

Fuqua is producing alongside Arthur Landon and Mark Bauch for Lorton Entertainment. Mac Maharaj is executive producing alongside fellow South Africans Gordon Metz and Hipster Media’s Markus Davies, and Matt Graff and Danny Fenton for Zig Zag Productions.

As Mandela’s cellmate on Robben Island, Maharaj transcribed and smuggled Mandela’s autobiography out of jail and later became a founding member of Mandela’s government as Minister of Transport. Taken together with Maharaj’s unique insight, including how Mac managed to set up a clandestine communication link enabling the isolated Mandela to confer with the ANC leadership in exile, these materials reveal how Mandela’s vision matured from rebel leader into one of the worlds most respected politicians.

Mac Maharaj says, “I have longed to see the story of Nelson Mandela, and his decades long fight and sacrifice for freedom, equality and justice told in an authentic, complex and revelatory way. It is a story that is more relevant to humanity today, than ever. I am thrilled that a director of Antoine Fuqua’s skill, creativity, and integrity has agreed to take on this challenging task.”

Producers Arthur Landon and Mark Bauch state, “During a time of political uncertainty and unrest around the world, this film aims to rekindle the influence of a truly great leader and show how a humble but determined lawyer became one of the greatest politicians in history. We are incredibly fortunate and excited to be partnered with Antoine, who has an incredible vision to show the world a side of Mandela we’ve never seen before, and Mac Maharaj, a true South African icon who fought the struggle alongside Mandela, and is a resource unlike any other.”

Lorton Entertainment is behind high-profile documentaries including Apple TV+’s recently released Boom! Boom!: The World vs. Boris Becker from Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) and Disney+’s  documentary series Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story and music documentaries such as SUPERSONIC and BROS: After The Screaming Stops.


Jon Creamer

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