The narrative: Honing in on the final days of apartheid in South Africa, the film brings to light the secret high-risk talks and negotiations held between the African National Congress and the Afrikaner National Party in an English country house, which brought an end to apartheid and led the release of Nelson Mandela. Actor's push: "For years I didn't eat South African food,"Peters said. "I didn't go to South Africa when I was invited there. I was counting on the whole world to bring pressure to bear to help end apartheid." When Clarke was offered the role, he likened it something of royal stature. "I was absolutely overawed. Wouldn¿t you be? How would you like to play the Queen?" Director's pull: "What really struck me is that it's a story about now," said the film's director Pete Travis of "Vantage Point"and "Dredd." "Seemingly intractable political situations transformed by seemingly impossible things, like people having hope. That's the story that feels totally about today to me." Did he meet Mr. Mandela? Peters met Mandela's inmate on Robben Island, who told him when Mandela heard his son died, he stood at his cell window for four days, avoiding human contact and food. "When he turned away from the window he was a changed man," said Peters. "I think he was having a very deep conversation with God - that God imbued him with that extra bit of wisdom, that extra bit of patience."
Larry Busacca / Getty Images