“Mandela” is now playing.
Can you talk a little a bit about doing “Ordinary Love” and how it was different doing a song about apartheid, today?
Bono: You know one the things that’s worth pointing out is when people get organized and put on their marching boots and get out on the streets and protest and whatever it is, it’s important to point out when actually there’s a good end result and look what happened in South Africa. This is a country that could have burst into flames…civil war…and it turned out, because of this man’s magic and his leadership that not only did they avoid a civil war, but they showed the rest of the continent of Africa and the rest of the world how there can be graceful solutions to very difficult problems. And it is worth pointing that out, isn’t it? Because we were part of that anti-apartheid movement and sometimes you don’t stop and think, “Oh well, that worked out well in the end.”
Harvey Weinstein said that you know Nelson Mandela better than any band in the world. Can you speak about that?
Bono: I know Harvey pretty good, too! He was a promoter, Harvey Weinstein, he promoted U2 in 1981, I don’t know if you know that. You mean the other great man? …I think it’s a combination of humor and humility. He was very funny in person, when he met you he would always make you laugh, make you feel at ease. He had that gift. It was never about him it was always about you.
Zenani Mandela is here tonight.
Bono: She’s an amazing girl. The family paid a brutal cost for freedom in South Africa, you think about…that’s really what the film is about. It’s kind of a love story, it’s a complicated love story. We wrote a kind of complicated love song in honor of that. But because really, that was the fallout was the family, you know. He was separated from his family, their marriage didn’t make it through, and when you see him with his kids now and all the rest, you can see that ache of all the time he didn’t spend.
How long did it take to write Ordinary Love?
The Edge: It took a while, as all our songs do. We’re very proud of this song and really proud to be a part of this project. As Bono was saying, it was one that we really realized…this we got to get right. You can’t mess this up because it means so much to us and it’s a one in a lifetime opportunity.
Bono: I went through a lot of drafts just to get it right. We try, when we’re writing for films, we try not to get in the way or in a tangle with the narrative, we try to find a tangent, some other note and we found, I think, a special kind of counterpoint to the top line melody that is the story, I hope.
We hear Nelson Mandela had the great gift of being able to speak to anyone. Why do you think that is?
Bono: Be interested in them. I think that was his great gift he was very interested in the people that he bumped into. Most politicians…a lot of politicians are great talkers, but not a lot of them are great listeners. He was a great listener.
This is the introduction of the film by U2.