Naomie Harris in Fault Winter 2014: Portraying Winnie Mandela Was Difficult

Posted Friday February 14, 2014 4:28 PM GMT

She made headlines over her excellent performance as Winnie Mandela in the bio-pic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," but now Naomie Harris admits becoming the wife of revolutionary politician was more difficult than she expected.

In the Winter 2014 issue of Fault magazine, the "Skyfall" beauty opened up about her initial reaction to the film and shared struggles she faced while prepping for the role.

Check out GossipCenter's recap of Miss Harris' interview below. For more, be sure to visit Fault!

On "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom":
"I worked with Justin, our director, on a small film called 'The First Grader' and we shot it in Kenya and there were only five of us who flew over from England to make the film. We shot it in a rural community in the middle of nowhere in Kenya at a very poor school. I actually pretended to be a teacher - I was introduced to the kids as their new teacher and we shot it documentary-style in order to keep the kids unaware that they were being filmed. It was such a great collaborative indie experience that I just thought, I really enjoyed working with Justin so when he said, 'Do you want to come on and make Mandela and play Winnie?' I was like, 'Absolutely. Yes!' I really wanted to be part of the experience because I wanted to work with Justin and Anant and David, our producers, and also because I wanted to be part of a film that was a celebration of Nelson Mandela's life."

On becoming Winnie:
"With great difficultly, I did a lot of research to find Winnie. She is such a polarizing character. Some people say that she is Mother Africa and that she is a saint and then other people completely demonize her as a fraudster, as a murderer and as a terrorist. So you have these completely opposing views about who she is. To meet in the middle and find a cohesive character for all of that was a real challenge."

On her career:
"I always knew I wanted to be an actress and I don't know how. People always say, how did you know? Even at four I would say to people, I'm going to be an actress. Not, I want to be an actress, but I'm going to be an actress. My mom enrolled me at a local drama school which was an after-school class for inner-city kids. I then joined the professional agency there and started auditioning and getting roles. My first role was at the age of nine, I did a role in 'Simon and the Witch.'"

On her role-picking strategy:
"I just like to play roles that are completely different from the last one. My body of work is very eclectic and I like it like that because I want to do something that I haven't done before, that challenges me in a completely different way and that scares me and forces me to grow in a different way. And also to exercise another part of myself that I haven't had an opportunity to show."

Photo Credit Louie Banks for Fault