Naomie Harris Talks Winnie Mandela in Red February 2014

Posted Thursday January 2, 2014 6:33 PM GMT

Continuing to enjoy the success of her bio-pic “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom,” Naomie Harris graced the cover of Red magazine’s February 2014 issue.

During her Q&A session with the publication, the 37-year-old actress opened up about playing Winnie Mandela in the film and her standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival following the film’s presentation.

Highlights from Miss Harris’ interview are as follows. For more, be sure to pay a visit to Red!

On becoming the peace leader’s wife:
“It was only when I did my research that I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what the hell have I signed up to?’ She is the most complex woman I have ever played. To many, she is a saint, she’s Mother Africa, you know? To others, she is completely vilified. The pressure of all those expectation, especially filming in South Africa, was a lot. I definitely understand why she became the woman she did. In the same situation, I don’t know how I would react.”

On developing Winnie’s passion and anger:
“It meant inhabiting places I try never to go, like revenge, hatred and rage. I don’t hate anyone, and I’m really not a vengeful person, but I found it difficult to switch off. Even after I stopped filming, it took me awhile to shake her.”

On working with Idris:
“The first thing Idris said to me was, ‘Woah, what have we done? It’s terrifying, isn’t it? It really put me at ease. We held each other’s hand through the whole process.”

On her standing ovation:
“It was so overwhelming that I was embarrassed. I sat down, but Harvey Weinstein was in the seat behind me and he was like, ‘Stand up, Naomie!’”

Photo Credit: Max Abadian for Red