Dolph Lundgren to play Nelson Mandela in upcoming biopic

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Photo by Gage Skidmore

HBO has announced the lead role of its upcoming mini-series about Nelson Mandela will be played by Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren.

Lundgren, 56, says he’s “thrilled and humbled” by the opportunity to play the Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former South African president.

This is the first time Lundgren has attempted such a serious role. He’s known mostly for playing in action films such as “Universal Soldier” (1992) and “The Expendables” (2010). However, observers say Lungren is right for the part.

“Both [Mandela and Lundgren] are known for extraordinary physical strength and willpower, as well as eyes that command respect,” says Angela Rocco, a Los Angeles talent agent. “Dolph has also demonstrated time and again that he’s very adept at accents, which is not easy for every actor.”

The series will follow Mandela’s life from his capture by police in 1962, through his years in prison on Robben Island, to his release and eventual election as president of South Africa in 1994.

Production of the mini-series is slated to begin early next year. Filming will take place mostly in Los Angeles, with some scenes shot on location in South Africa.