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Interview With Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte; Interview With "Living" Actor Bill Nighy; Interview With "Mandela: The Lost Tapes" Writer And Narrator Richard Stengel. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired December 05, 2022 - 13:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to AMANPOUR. Here is what's coming up.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This is a weak position. And it's only a matter time before stronger tools will have

to be used anyway.


AMANPOUR: The Ukrainian president on the latest western effort to choke off Russian oil profits. Will it make a difference? I ask Lithuania's prime

minister who is on a trip to the United States.

Then, Bill Nighy on what's being hailed as his breast role ever. After the romance of "Love Actually", the actor now tackles mortality in his new film

"Living". Plus.


NELSON MANDELA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: You must remember I was underground for almost two years before I went to jail.


AMANPOUR: Nelson Mandela as no one has heard him before. Biographer Richard Stengel talks to Walter Isaacson about rediscovering South Africa's

democratic hero for his new podcast, "Mandela, The Lost Tapes".

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Yet another wave of Russian missiles threatened Kyiv today, prompting air raid sirens across the capital and sending citizens scrambling for shelter.

Ukraine says its air defense system intercepted more than 60, but the country remains on high alert. This, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy,

criticizes the west for only capping Russian oil at $60 per barrel. He says it should be less. The Kremlin says, it will ignore the whole thing anyway.

Meantime, French President Emmanuel Macron, drew a wave of criticism from both Ukraine and Baltic States for saying in an interview that the west

should think about how to give Russia's security guarantees, "The day it returns to the negotiating table".

Lithuania is one Baltic State deeply impacted by all of this. The country is sandwiched between Russia's territory and its ally Belarus. Prime

Minister Ingrida Simonyte is on an official visit to the United States and she's joining me now from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Prime Minister, welcome to the program. So, can I first start by asking you to react to what the EU. has tried to do, and that is capping Russian oil.

Do you also think that it doesn't go far enough?

INGRIDA SIMONYTE, LITHUANIAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, thank you for having me, Christiane.

I think that there is no big surprise that Lithuania was among the couple of countries who are bidding for a significantly lower price cap. And we

had good argument for this, I think, mainly because we know a lot -- what are the extraction costs for Russia. What is the budgetary calculations for

Russia. And we thought that initial price caps were too high.

There was some reduction from 65, 70 to 60. There is a clause that provides for review of the price cap so that it would be constantly lower than the

market price. And then, you know, one might wait whether it's better to have a not perfect solution or not to have any solution at all. So, this

time, the sort of -- the agreement was around the fact that there needs to be a compromise so that Russia could not exploit the topic like west cannot

agree on it.

AMANPOUR: So, let me just quote what the -- basically the E.U. said about this, the G7, you know, when they were talking about, "It's designed to

prevent Russia from profiting from its war of aggression against Ukraine." As you know, better than I do, Russia has now said it ignores this. It

finds that it won't abide by it. And it won't even do any business with countries that buy into this cap.

So, do you believe even a bad deal, a compromised deal, as you've called it or a less than perfect deal is actually going to do that, deprive Russia of

its ill-gotten war games?

SIMONYTE: Well, you know that the less there are customers for Russian oil, and the European hasn't introduced sanctions from the 5th of December,

today, basically. Also, other countries has done that all in the past.


So, the less countries are there to buy Russian oil, the more severe conditions most probably they will put against Russia in order for Russia

to sell it. So, the discounts that Russian oil has been trading at was already significant. And everybody around the globe knows that there is a

price cap. And everybody knows that Russia will be more desperate to find the markets for their oil.

So, the call for additional rebates and discounts might be quite substantial. So, this is not a perfect solution, as I mentioned, but it's

better to have a solution then to debate it, you know, endlessly.

AMANPOUR: You, as Lithuania, you have your own specific experience in this. After, you know, declaring independence back in 1990. Moscow cut oil

deliveries and also reduce gas supplies. And it forced you to take the bull by the horns and take your energy matters into your own hands. What did you

do and can it be a template for others, many have -- you know, European countries suffering now because of this oil crisis that Putin has


SIMONYTE: Well, it can be but one thing -- what we need to see very clearly is that we cannot undo the past. Because it was our past experience

that pushed us towards creating an alternative route of supply, both for oil and gas. So, when the oil pipeline broke apart all of a sudden in 2007

and another was restored, there was not the real problem.

And when gas pump was starting to price us with crazy gas prices in 2007, 2008, then there was a decision that we need alternative supplies just to

reduce the price. So, we've built an LNG terminal that is operational from 2014. And now, it is not just a matter of price, as you know, but also a

matter of security of supply. And this is not only Lithuanian project as it appears, but this is also a regional project because now we can also help

our neighboring countries with supply of gas in this circumstances.

So, yes, some countries thought that whatever happens, they will have an argument with Russia and they will be able to deal with Russia. And Russia

is a reliable supplier as some of the politicians were calling it. But now we know that this is not true. It is a very hard way to experience this

because this is not just a matter of a price but also a matter of security of supplies.

And of course, we would have been much safer now if some decisions were not taken in the past. If some countries were not too reliant on Russian oil

and gas supplies. But now, what we can do is just do our undone homework as soon as we can.

AMANPOUR: You're in the United States and you know that there is quite a lot of concern about stockpiles and production of ammunition and other

systems to send to Ukraine. And you also have probably heard the Congress, particularly some Republicans, are talking about basically the longevity of

their commitment to the Ukrainian defense. No blank check is the famous quote from the minority -- the majority leader, House Speaker Kevin


Do you sense that the U.S. is getting wobbly and that the Republicans may, you know, sort of try to step back from this full-throated defense of

Ukraine or not?

SIMONYTE: Well, you know, I'm in politics for quite a while now. And I know that there is a certain distinction between rhetoric that is being

used, especially during the times of elections and the practical deeds that are taken by politicians when they are in charge.

So, I would say no, ma'am. I see no, sort of, changes in the general stance of the United States. And I think it remains and will remain a robust

partner and a robust supporter of Ukraine until its victory, because you know, this -- people can speak about -- politicians can speak about

accountability and checks of the books and everything and this is maybe normal but -- normal democratic process.

But the fact is that the support of Ukraine, the support of its fight, the understanding what Ukraine is fighting for. It's basically fighting not

only for its territorial integrity and sovereignty but also for a more- broader concept of the values that the countries, in this part of the world share. So, I think that I would be very surprised if there would be any

major changes in the stance of the United States administration in the nearest future.

AMANPOUR: Are you confident, because the newspapers and the airways are full of these worries that ammunition is going to run out. And there aren't

just the production lines in Europe or elsewhere to, you know, to ramp it up as fast as necessary. Are you concerned about that?


SIMONYTE: Yes, of course. And this is not a political problem, this is a practical problem, and this problem has very deep roots of countries,

especially in Europe for many years not paying significant attention to their defense and security standing. And this is how it is, you know,

again, the homework that has not been done in a proper time.

So, and now there is -- all of a sudden race of countries increasing their defense spending up to at least NATO two percent or above that. And of

course, there is -- as an economist, I would say just a classical demand shock in military economy in this sort of industry, in this sort of

business. So, definitely, it is a practical problem. But nevertheless, I know from our own experience that each and every time you look closer and

more carefully and once and again, you find something you can deliver to Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: So, when you look closely then at one of your colleagues, the president of France, you know, Emmanuel Macron, who has this weekend paid

his first state visit of the Biden ministration. And he's given several interviews. The interviews suggests that Russia should be offered security

guarantees, "When they come to the negotiating table."

A former Lithuanian foreign minister has tweeted pretty furiously, Russia has all the security guarantees if it doesn't attack, annex, or occupy its

neighbors. If anyone wants to create a new security architecture that allows a terrorist state to continue its method of intimidation, they

should think again. Where do you stand on Macron's statements?

SIMONYTE: Well, I would agree 100 percent that it is very weird to speak about security guarantees towards a country who have never been under real

risk of attack. Who's never been attacked. And who is, as a matter of, attacking Ukraine, destroying cities, infrastructures, civilian people, and

performing war crimes each and every day.

So, I don't know what exactly was behind the words of President Macron. But I think what is important is that the countries that believe in liberal

democracy and territorial integrity and sovereignty. And the fact that nobody is here allowed to redraw the state borders and boundaries just

because they wish so. They need security guarantees, they need to mind the security situation, and they need to become stronger and able to respond to

whatever risks might occur. I don't think that we should be in the business of thinking about Russia's security guarantees when it cares for nobody's


AMANPOUR: Including, obviously, your own. I am very mindful that yours and the other two Baltic States have had their very negative experience with

Russia, with the Soviet Union. But so, I want to ask you a further question about what President Macron said. He said that he thought that it was

potentially, you know, he sees negotiations as the only solution. And this is what he said about how he sees the war ending. He was speaking to "60



EMMANUEL MACRO, FRENCH PRESIDENT: I think it's important to convey the message that this is -- the Ukrainians to decide it. The only way to find a

solution would be through negotiations. I don't see a military option on the ground.


AMANPOUR: Again, Prime Minister, do you agree? Do you see a military solution or is it time to get around the table at some point?

SIMONYTE: Well, one would wish there would be scope for negotiations. But we see from Russia's actions and rhetoric that there is no interest of

whatever negotiation. What Russia wants, Russia wants ceasefire or some, you know, some period of rest so that it could rebuild, regroup and to

attack again. And they also want everybody, including countries in the west to accept what has happened as a (INAUDIBLE). This grab of territories that

they managed to achieve.

So, I don't think this is a negotiating position. This is a dictating position. And it's hard to think about whatever real negotiation in the

current juncture. So, I don't think there is any other response, reasonable from the side of Ukraine but just try and reclaim their territories back

and claim back their territorial integrity and their sovereignty.

At some point, theoretically, one might say that there is whatever war will end with some negotiation. There are always some negotiations going on in

whatever military circumstances. For example, there is an exchange of war prisoners.


So, there is some negotiation on something. There was a debate about the green deal, brokered by United Nations. So, there are some topics where you

can actually negotiate.

But this is, I think, very different and very far away from the end of the war. Because if there is something that happened in 2014 and '15 with Minsk

Agreement, then this will not be the end of the war. This will be just some stage against -- before the next season, so.

AMANPOUR: So, to that end, I mentioned in the introduction to you that you find yourself sandwich between Kaliningrad, which is a Russian territory,

and also Belarus, Russia's ally. Many Ukrainians, including around the leadership, are concerned that Russia, Putin, could still pressure

Lukashenko in Belarus to either help invade or use the territory to reinvade from that part, from the north Ukraine. Do you have those


SIMONYTE: Well, they already pushed Lukashenko very far. Because they managed to start their military offensive, this February 24th from

Belarusian soil. So, basically, Lukashenko is an accomplice with Putin in this war, regardless that the Russian army is not fighting directly in --

on the battlefield.

And I think, yes, with a limited success that Russia is having on the battlefield, where the losses of men's life that Russia has each and every

day, they would be looking for additional -- sort of, to say bodies to cover the front. But Lukashenko has a lot to lose if he decides to go along

this way. So, I think he will try to do whatever it takes not to participate in this war directly. Although his options are much more

limited than they used to be some four or five years ago.

AMANPOUR: It's really interesting. Thank you so much, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte, for joining us from the United States.

Now, as we reported last week, the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut has become a prime target for Russian troops. Ferocious fighting is underway

there and Kyiv's forces are getting a boost from an unlikely source. Russians themselves, volunteers, who have come in to fight on their own

against their countrymen for Ukrainians. Correspondent Sam Kiley has our report.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Caesar (ph) is Russian. He's taking a break at a monastery from fighting Russians in

nearby Bakhmut. It's a relief from scenes like this, Bakhmut's Ukrainian field hospital. He's been defending this Ukrainian town from Russia's most

intense assault along an 800-mile front.

Artillery jewels and trench warfare have almost destroyed Bakhmut as Russia throws its army at a bid for victory after months of defeat to the north

and south. Defending Bakhmut against his Russian motherland is a religious imperative for Caesar.

The fighting is very brutal now, he says. There are very few prisoners.

KILEY (on camera): Now, when you see those Russians in your gunsights, what do you think and what do you feel?

KILEY (voiceover): I believe that these people who have broken the law of man and the law of God. I have no pity for them. I take them prisoner if I

can. But most often, I just have to kill them.

KILEY (on camera): So, have you killed a lot of your countrymen?

KILEY (voiceover): A dozen and a half.

KILEY (on camera): This is the remains of Russian orthodox monastery. Now, for Vladimir Putin, the orthodox church is absolutely central to his vision

of the Russian world. For some Russians though, that's a world they don't want to live in. Indeed, they don't want it to survive.

KILEY (voiceover): Ukraine's orthodox church broke with Moscow three years ago. This is all that's left of a rebranded Ukrainian orthodox, St.

George's monastery. After nine months of war --

CAESAR, RUSSIAN VOLUNTEER FIGHTING IN RUSSIA'S WAR IN UKRAINE (PH): Putin says that his defense are traditional values, yes. And this is the result

of his defendant. Ruined old monastery.

KILEY (voiceover): Vinnie (ph) has been fighting in Bakhmut for weeks against mercenaries from Russia's Wagner company, many of them convicted


It's obvious, he says. When private companies hire criminals and convicts, imagine, a man kills once then they put him in jail. Then he kills a second

time and he becomes a repeat offender under the law. Then, he gets let out of jail and given a gun. That's not a person, that's a beast.

After a former Wagner deserter, Yevgeny Nushin, was murdered in a video that was praised by Wagner's boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, Vinnie (ph) is in no

doubt how he would be treated if captured.


It'll be the end, 100 percent. But it'll just be more painful.

The Russian legion does claim to be in the hundreds. And it says many more, back home, are trying to join Ukraine's army. Alongside their Ukrainian

allies, the Russian legion is focused on the battle for Bakhmut, the aim of the war after is more ambitious.

He says, I'm doing my military and Christian duty. I defend the Ukrainian people. And when Ukraine is free, I will carry my sword to Russia to free

it from tyranny.


AMANPOUR: Sam Kiley reporting there.

Next, to a period drama that is already getting Oscar buzz and being hailed as Ascor -- as actor Bill Nighy's best performance yet. "Living", adopted

by a Nobel prize winner, Kazuo Ishiguro, is a quietly sentimental take on mortality. When a veteran British civil servant confronts a diagnosis of

terminal cancer. Here's a clip from the trailer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Williams, a little on the frost aside, perhaps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not too much fun and laughter. (INAUDIBLE) church.

BILL NIGHY, ACTOR, "LIVING": Why does it happen? It's no wonder I didn't notice what I was becoming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dad, are you alright?

NIGHY: If I were to be alive for one day, but I realized I don't know how.


AMANPOUR: And Bill Nighy joins me now from New York.

Welcome to the program. It's very poignant in that -- in parts of that trailer as well. And I guess, I'm mindful that takes place in the 1950s in

Britain after the second world war, the last time there was a massive land war in Europe. And the characteristic of you and the other civil servants

are very specific, I guess, to that time. Would you agree?

NIGHY: Yes, I would, yes. It's a very accurate, I think, portrayal of that time, the atmosphere and the people involved. Kazuo Ishiguro, the

screenwriter and Stephen Woolley, the producer, are great film enthusiasts, obviously. And they -- their particular area of interest is black and white

films of the '30s, '40s and '50s, British films. So, this is, to some degree, an homage to that.

Mr. Ishiguro, who came -- who is Japanese and who came to England when he was five years old. "Ikiru", the original Kurosawa film from which this is

derived, it became a very important film for him. And it was the message that you could have a significant and important life without, you know,

world domination. It became a big part of his thinking.

But yes, it's very specific to that time. And I was there, you know -- I mean, it's funny to think when you see ancient footage and you think -- I

know, you think, well actually, I would have been one of those children playing in the playground in those dreadful shorts.

AMANPOUR: Indeed. And we're going to get to the playground because it becomes the central -- the -- your central mission after learning that you

had this diagnosis. But I just want to ask you first, it seems that you came upon the two gentlemen, who you're talking about, the director and Mr.

Ishiguro at a restaurant and you, sort of, joined them where they were having this conversation about their mutual, you know, obsession about

these older films. And that's when they decided you would be perfect for this role, as Mr. Williams, is that right?

NIGHY: That's, kind of, correct, yes. I was -- Stephen Woolley, the great British film producer and his wife, Elizabeth Karlsen, also a very

substantial film producer. I was invited to dinner at their house. And the other guests were Mr. and Mrs. Ishiguro, who I've never met. And somewhere

along the line, at the end of the dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Ishiguro went into a kind of huddle that came out of the huddle and said, we know what your next

film should be. And I said, well, you know, when you're ready, let me know.

And a couple of weeks later, this was the project that they suggested. He had a long harbored the desire to marry the original, the Kurosawa Japanese

film, with a kind of Englishness. It's -- we -- I'm sure there are characters like Mr. Williams in every culture but we always take the blame

for that kind of repressed, you know, that kind of repressed character who is -- especially during the '50s when, you know, you weren't -- you were

virtually not allowed to express anything of any great import. You weren't supposed to concern your fellow human beings with any of your troubles.

I find it fascinating. And from an acting point of view, that was very exciting. Where you had to, kind of, express quite a lot with not very



AMANPOUR: Yes, and you are a master of unexpression, if that's a word, in --

NIGHY: Well.

AMANPOUR: -- in most of this film, as you have to be. I just want to play a clip which kind of launches the film. It's one of the first scenes in the

film, you are not in it but they talk about you. And we'll chat on the other side of it. Let's play this.


ALEX SHARP, ACTOR, "LIVING": Good morning.




SHARP: So, here I am. All ready for battle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd better introduce you. This is Mr. Peter Wakeling, our new colleague. Mr. Wakeling, Mr. Hart.

CHRIS: How do you do?

SHARP: How do you do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Mr. Rushbridger.

SHARP: How do you do?

BURTON: How do you do?

CHRIS: Your eagerly awaited, Mr. Wakeling. You've been short now nearly two months.

SHARP: Well, I hope to make a difference. It may take a week or two though.

BURTON: Don't worry, old chap. This time of morning, it's a kind of rule. Not too much fun and laughter, rather like church.


AMANPOUR: And then he was told that you, the great boss, doesn't even join them in their part of the train. So, here's Mr. Wakeling, Peter Wakeling,

young man, embodying all the youth and optimism. And there you are, you know, like a wall of stoicism and cynicism and, you know, bureaucracy. Tell

me about your character, Mr. Williams. Tell me about your character and a little bit of the, you know, the premise of the film.

NIGHY: Well, apart from anything, he is a man who I -- I've always assumed was kind of institutionalized in grief because he lost his wife at a very

early stage and he's developed -- he's formed a kind of cult of one. And rather than that, he's not what they now would suggest. He hasn't moved on

anyway. But he's -- but also, he spent his life in an institution dedicated to procrastination. It's designed to prevent things from happening. And

then he's given this disastrous diagnosis and it galvanizes him. And he attempts to find some meaning in what remains of his life.

AMANPOUR: Just before that diagnosis, we have another clip from a scene. Because, you know, you live -- I think you live with -- anyway, they're in

the house, your son and his wife. And they're quite, you know, keen on the inheritance. They're quite frustrated with living with their, you know, old

father. And they want to get on with it. You never tell them about your diagnosis. Here's a little clip in -- your daughter in law is speaking.


PATSY FERRAN, ACTRESS, "LIVING": There was a time when what one did in London, stayed in London. But these days, half of the street works in


NIGHY: Well, that's right, my dear. Half the street.


AMANPOUR: You daughter-in-law in that clip, was she implying that you are having some kind of extramarital affair with one of your younger


NIGHY: Yes, that's exactly what she's implying. In fact, he's having nothing of the kind. But he's because of the diagnosis, he's -- and

accidentally having bumped into her in the street. He's become enthralled to the youth and vitality of one of his younger colleagues, yes. But

there's nothing untoward about it.

It's simply that he wants to -- he wants -- you know, it's that thing where he discovers he can't talk to his family. He overhears them talking about

his money and how they just want to inherit his money. So, he's not drawn to them in terms of, you know, discussing it with them. So, he -- and

randomly, he -- she -- the young woman that he's -- that was working in the office becomes his confidant.

AMANPOUR: And then you do this thing. You get this diagnosis -- your character gets this diagnosis. And you've got six months to live. And I

think you literally, title of the film, start thinking about living. How were you going to live those last six months? And you take on this mission

that you would put in your pile of bureaucratic papers, never to be seen again, women who want and have been running around every administrative

bureau just because they want to build a playground, you know, from a bomb site that's -- so the kids can play. So, tell me about that and what your

character does.


NIGHLY: Well, he's first thought is that he's heard about this thing called a good time. And he's never actually had a good time. And he takes

out half of his money, which is quite a lot, in cash and takes it to Brighton, which always I find quite funny. It's a very period thing to do

because he figures that if you're going to have a good time, you should go to the coast.

And then, he sees a man played by Tom Burke, the wonderful Tom Burke, who he -- who looks like somebody who might have had a good time. And then, of

course, he discovers that hedonism is not going to help in any way whatsoever. So, yes, then he decides to implement this plan to build a

playground. And make something happen rather than prevented from doing so.

AMANPOUR: So, you are very, very, very well known for the great film "Love Actually," which is obviously, completely different from this and it comes

up at this time of year because it's a Christmas film. Are you tired of being asked about it? Tired of being identified about it? Or is it

something that is a fond friend?

NIGHLY: It's a fond friend. I'm never tired about it. I mean -- you know, I mean, people do ask me about it all the time. It's something -- it's a

rare thing. It's a film that's really enter the language. And people use it for all kinds of purposes and people -- it is beloved and it's very, very

satisfying to be part of that. I have no complaints. And it changed my professional life. That film changed the way I went to work and it made a

lot of other things possible. And, you know, I'm nothing but grateful.

AMANPOUR: You played an aging rocker, I think, in there. And, look, you've obviously heard -- even Richard Curtis, you know, who directed it and

others talk about how it might not have been able to have been made today. There was like no diversity says, Richard Curtis in the film. And that

would not be OK today.

And then, I know you weren't in it, "Bridget Jones's Diary" also is a film that may not have been made today. Again, the writer says, hey, you know,

here you have over harassment by a boss to his employee and that wouldn't have survived, you know, the real issues around MeToo and all the rest of

it. Do you ever reflect on how some of those very beloved films, still beloved films, could've been made and probably wouldn't be made now?

NIGHLY: The answer to your -- the truth is no, I don't. But now, that you suggest -- now, I am because you suggest I should. Yes, I know. It's very -

- it occurred to me not long ago that real civilization only happened relatively recently given that we've been on the planet for thousands of

years. You know, the women -- women only get the vote in 1929 or 1926 in the United Kingdom. Homosexuality was only made legal in 1968, I believe.

You know, a couple of things.

You know, and it's -- and the -- you know, people really concerning themselves with racial issues, you know, for the first time, really, in any

great -- with any great weight. So, you know, it's marvelous to see that this is -- these progressive movements are accelerating.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you about Instagram and the kind of publicity. You don't seem to be the kind of actor who thrust himself forward and is

constantly tweeting and constantly posting. But I understand that at one point, your team suggested that you really should and you nearly did but

then you said no. You even said, it would force me to have to promote a film or tell people I'm in a film, and I'm never going to do that. Why?

NIGHLY: I don't know. There's something in me that doesn't. I'm never going to say to anybody, hey, I'm in a movie. You should all come. It's

never going to happen. I don't know. I guess it's probably generational. I know that's what people -- I know it's now standard and I know it's

perfectly acceptable. You know, I don't judge anyone else for doing it.

But just on -- you know, it's just never going to happen in terms of me. I'm not any social media. I'm fortunate, I think, you know, that I -- it's

not necessary for me. I don't have to be on any of those things. And I would be -- you know, it sounds like hard work. And I would probably -- I

will continue to resist it.

AMANPOUR: Well, look, you have been in many, many iconic films and blockbusters, I'm just going to name a few of them, "The Hitchhiker's'

Guide to the Galaxy," "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Harry Potter and a Deathly Hallows." And "The Great Marigold Hotel" franchise. Do you have a

bucket list of either things you want to do like living or films that you may be, you know, taking on next?


NIGHLY: No, I don't, really. I've never had any kind of list. I didn't really have a list. And you know what I mean? I've never -- I know you're

supposed to kind of a range to have goals. But somehow, I always put it off until tomorrow.

I'm a great procrastinator. But I -- so, I don't have anything I burn to do. I've been incredibly, unspeakably fortunate, you know, beyond lucky,

and I've worked with some of the greatest people working actors, directors, writers and, you know, it would be hard -- I'd be hard pushed to find

something to wish for.

I would -- you know, I wish to continue to do good work and to do things that might be useful in the world rather than not. I'm -- you know, apart

from that, I -- you know, I quip that, you know, it's time maybe I had an action career. You know, it's getting late. I wouldn't mind being an

accidental action hero or something like that. But no, I don't have any -- there's nothing -- you know, there's nothing I burned to do, apart from,

you know, trying to find, you know, useful good valuable funny entertaining projects.

AMANPOUR: All right. From your mouth to, I don't know, Marvel's ears.

NIGHLY: Yes, absolutely.

AMANPOUR: Bill Nighy, thank you so much indeed.

Now, in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa is resisting calls to resign over allegations that he might have covered up at the theft of

hundreds of thousands of dollars from his private farm. As a powerful union leader, he had played a key role in ending apartheid and became a close

ally of President Nelson Mandela.

Our next guest worked with Mandela on his autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom." That was in the '90s. Now, journalist Richard Stengel is

revealing never before heard audio from those interviews. It's all in his new podcast series called, "Mandela: The Loss Tapes." And he tells Walter

Isaacson what he learned about the great South African leader and about himself from their conversations.


WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank, you Christiane. And, Rich Stengel, welcome to the show.


ISAACSON: This new audio book podcast is based on tapes you did when you helped Mandela write his autobiography a "Long Walk to Freedom." Let's go

back to that. In 1990, he gets out of jail. In 1992, you and I are -- been at "Time Magazine." You get a call to be his writer on it. Tell me how that


STENGEL: So, what -- you'll actually know some of the characters. I wrote a book, as you recall, about South Africa called "January Sun," about a

force removal in a township. And Little Ground (ph), the publisher that was the known by had signed up Mandela to do his autobiography. And

Bill Phillips (ph), who was the head of Little Ground (ph), had read my book, "January Sun."

And one morning, he called me at home and asked me to come and see him about a project. And we talk for a little while. And then he said, would

you be interested in collaborating with Nelson Mandela on his autobiography? And it was the proverbial offer you can't refuse. And about

a month later, I was on my way back to Johannesburg.

ISAACSON: And tell me what it was like talking to Mandela and wouldn't it have been odd for a white American guy to be chosen by him to write the


STENGEL: Yes. And part of it was that they had struggled to find a collaborator. And so, the American publisher ended up choosing an American

journalist. And the real difference in a strange way was not so much grace or even national origin. It was age. I mean, he was about 30 years older

than I was then. And he had this enormous respect for age.

And when I actually first met him, which was an awe-inspiring experience, the first thing he said to me was, oh, you are a young man. And that wasn't

meant as a compliment. I had to overcome the fact that I seemed young to him because he had such great respect for age.

ISAACSON: What was a like to hear him again now?

STENGEL: I hadn't really listened to the tapes because, as you know, when you are working on a book, the first thing you do is you have them

transcribed and you want to work with transcripts. You don't work with -- you know, with having to listen.

So, listening to them really for the first time was a very emotional experience. You're hearing him, somebody I love, but then, I'm also hearing

a 30-year younger version of myself, which isn't always comfortable. And so, I mostly was pretty buttoned up. But there were times when I heard

like, well, I didn't get the answer I wanted but I didn't do follow-up or I chickened out with a question that wasn't as direct as I should have asked.

It's not easy to ask Nelson Mandela uncomfortable things, but I knew that I had to.


So, it was -- it -- I learned a lot about myself. I learned more about him. You know, looking back, when a much closer to his age than I was then, he

sounds more vulnerable to me. He sounds a little lonelier. He sounds almost more wistful than I remember thinking at the time where, you know, when you

are in that room, you are thinking, what can I use in a book and what can I and how do I get him to talk about things that I can use? And now, I heard

some emotion in his voice that I don't think I heard back then.

ISAACSON: I want to play a clip of when Nelson Mandela was stopped when he was driving a car and he had a revolver with him in 1962.


NELSON MANDELA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: Now, I had a revolver which was unlicensed and I just took it out and put it in between the


STENGEL: That's Nelson Mandela. He's talking about the time he was driving down a hill with a gun and got stopped by the South African security


MANDELA: And at one time, I thought I could open the door fast and roll down. But I didn't know how long this hill was and what was there. I was

not familiar with the landscape.

STENGEL: Mandela could always think on his feet. He'd only have begun a few weeks. He was young and fit but didn't of the countryside or what was

beyond that hill. When that Ford V8 pulled in front of his car outside of Howick Falls, South Africa on August 5, 1962, Mandela new instantly what

had happened. He was caught.


STENGEL: So, that was August of 1962. Mandela earlier year had started (INAUDIBLE) spear of the nation, the armed wing of the ANC. He had decided

that nonviolent protests just didn't work anymore and the government was responding with violence. They had to respond in kind. So, he went on a

trip to Africa to raise money for the ANC and for MK, as it was known. And he was summoned back and he had been given a revolver by Haile Selassie and

200 rounds of ammunition and he had it in his belt.

And when he was driving from Durban to Johannesburg, posing as a chauffeur, because a black man driving a car, it wasn't something that was that common

in those days, and they were pulled over by the special branch of the South African police.

ISAACSON: You talk about Mandela as a cautious revolutionary. Quite a phrase. Explain that to me.

STENGEL: Well, he wasn't a revolutionary by temperament, as some people are. He wasn't a rebel by temperament. He was the son of a chief. He was

raised by the king of the Tenbu people. He was an aristocrat. And so, in some ways, he was conservative. In a different society, he would have --

you know, as he once said to me, I would've been, you know, a local chief with a big belly. And -- but when he went to Johannesburg as a young man,

when he encountered racism, apartheid, the incredible disdain with which he was treated and the lack of opportunity, it shifted him, it changed him, it

did ultimately make him into a revolutionary. But it was a slow process.

And originally embraced the vision of nonviolence that, by the way, had started with Gandhi in South Africa 40 years before. But when the

government began responding to nonviolent protests with violence, he realized he had to respond in that same way, and he was reluctant to do


I mean, you've met him, Walter, there was something incredibly sort of peaceful about him. I mean, he loathed violence. He told me the story once

of when he was training at Liliesleaf Farm with a BB gun and he shot a sparrow, he felt heartbroken that he had killed the sparrow. I mean, so, it

was a very, very reluctant process. But once he embraced it, like he embraced everything, he went all in.

ISAACSON: Tell me about, there must of been a real tension in his life then if he's deeply committed to nonviolence, has a peaceful temperament

and he had to be a revolutionary. How did he deal with that attention?

STENGEL: Well, the way he dealt with everything, I mean, I guess we use the modern word repression. But he was very, very, very tasked focused. And

so, what did he do? He started reading books about guerrilla warfare. You can hear in the tapes him saying, you know, he read Mao's autobiography. He

read about Fidel Castro. He read about Ben Bella in Algeria. He was a student, in a way.

ISAACSON: But did he also read Gandhi?


STENGEL: Well, he had been steeped in that already. Remember, the ANC was formed in 1912. It's the oldest African liberation movement in history. It

was formed as a nonviolent movement to bring rights and freedoms to people of color in South Africa. So, he was steeped in that.

He -- I mean, he had -- I think he had read Gandhi earlier the thriller. He talked about reading Nehru in prison. So, the thing he had to learn was the

path to violence and how that worked. And remember, that era, Mao Tse-tung, Castro, Mandela, they were successful revolutionaries in the '50s and '60s

and '70s.

ISAACSON: I once got to go to Robben Island to the cell with Nelson Mandela when he was giving President Clinton and others a tour. And it

seemed almost like it was a touchdown for him, that little cell, and how that forged him. How did it forge him?

STENGEL: I believe prison was the thing that made Nelson Mandela who he became, who we saw. Prison acted as a, kind of, crucible to melt away any

unnecessary elements. It made him, kind of, pure. He had to focus on his goals. And so, he also became -- and you hear me asking him this over than

over in the podcast, how did present change you? One day he said to me, I came out mature.

And that word which doesn't sound all that thrilling to us, meant a lot to him. It meant self-control. It meant having an even temperament and not

overreacting. All of the things that he thought leaders need to have. Prison, I think, was the way he got that. Was the way he achieved that. It

steeled him. And that's how he became Nelson Mandela.

ISAACSON: One of most amazing about Nelson Mandela's 27 years in prison, all of these things, and yet he seems to come out without spite, without

hatred. He's able to do the truth and reconciliation. How hard was that or was that part of his nature, just to forgive?

STENGEL: I think it was harder than it seemed. He realized early on that if he was going to bring freedom to South Africa, he had to reconcile white

and black. He realized that in prison. And he used the guards in prison as a kind of focus group, a test audience. He learned Afrikaans in prison. He

would talk to them in Afrikaans. He realized he had to bring those people along.

And the thing that whites, the white minority regime, who -- and they were -- it was a white supremacist regime, what they were afraid of was black

vengeance. It was that sparked gevaar, as they called it in Afrikaans, the black threat.

And he understood that he -- when he came out, he couldn't seem threatening. He had to preach reconciliation. I think in his heart, he was

deeply wounded. But he understood that as a politician, as a statesman, as a leader, he could never show that he was wounded. And he -- and by

temperament, he wasn't ever someone who wanted vengeance or wanted to repay something that happened to him. He wasn't like that at all. But he

understood that he had to hide any of those feelings, if he had them at all.

ISAACSON: There's another clip where Mandela discusses being separated from his wife, Winnie Mandela, for 27 years. Let me play that one.


STENGEL: You're sentenced to life in prison. You're gone for many, many years. She has a life outside. She meets other men. What -- it must be very

difficult to think about that. That perhaps she, you know, meets other men that she might like or might take your place temporarily. How did you deal

with that?

MANDELA: Well, that was a question, you know, which one had to wipe out of his mind.

STENGEL: Uh-huh.

MANDELA: You must remember, I was underground for almost two years before I went to jail. I took a deliberate decision to go underground. And in

other words, what those issues were not material issues to me. And then one had to accept that the human issue, the human fact, the reality that a

person will have times when he wants to relax, and one must not be inquisitive. It's sufficient that this is a woman who is loyal to me, who

supports me, and who comes to visit me, who writes to me. That's sufficient.

STENGEL: And then everything else you -- that's sufficient, and you put the other things out of your mind?

MANDELA: Oh, yes.

STENGEL: Because they're not important?



STENGEL: First of all, I wasn't always very successful in getting him to talk about personal things. I asked him a lot of questions about his first

wife, Evelyn, and he rebuffed them almost completely.


The issue with Winnie, which was kind of lovely, was that even though at the time he was separated from her and wounded by her. He talked about her,

when he was reminiscing lovingly, it was almost as though he could transport himself back to that time when he first met her. He talked about

how he saw her waiting at a bus stop when he was driving and he was just struck by her beauty, he said.

And it's lovely when he's talking about her in the past. He's much more circumspect than talking about her in the present. And what was also going

on in South African politics at the moment is that she was much more aligned with the more radical wing of the ANC who were critical of Mandela.

And so, he had to navigate that personally and politically. And it was incredibly delicate.

ISAACSON: You talk about him as being temperamentally a conservative person, then he becomes a revolutionary, but then it becomes president. And

he only serves for one term. Decides to step aside. Tell me about his temperament when he becomes president. Had he become back to being more

cautious and conservative?

STENGEL: So, in many ways, he's a natural conservative. What changed him was facing racism and apartheid. But once he became president, he realized

-- he reverted, in some ways, to his more conservative nature. He wanted to prevent the country from descending into a civil war which he really was

afraid was going to happen when he was running for president.

So, he's been criticized in recent years for being too even subservient to whites. To be more concerned about placating white interest than helping

blacks. But at the time, when you go back to that time, the country really was at a tipping point. There was something called the third force, this

right-wing dark force that was trying to tip the country to civil war. That's what Mandela was concerned about.

And I think he believed that once they could go over to a democratic election, he could get elected, then he could heal the breach. And that's

what he tried to do.

ISAACSON: You said you didn't expect people would listen to these tapes ever again. And wasn't sure what whether Mandela, what he would feel about

that. Tell me about the ethical concerns you may have had about putting them out now.

STENGEL: So, the tapes are owned by the Mandela Foundation. I kept them for years and years. And in 2010, they asked me to come down and donate

them in a lovely ceremony with him. Even that, of course, I didn't really think about them being listened to. The Mandela Foundation did make them

available to be listened to if you would physically go there and listen to the tapes, which not many people did. I think he would have been

circumspect about it. I think he would have felt that these tapes were personal, even though when you hear them, they're certainly not personal by

our standards.

And so -- but at the end of the day, Walter, I think, you know, more Nelson Mandela in the world is better than last Nelson Mandela in the world. And

we're living in a time where democracy itself isn't a threat to. And he was maybe the greatest democratic revolutionary in history. And to hear him

talk about these things which such focus and passion and emotion about how they fought back against racism and fought for democracy. I just think it's

a great moment to be able to listen to him.

ISAACSON: Rich Stengel. thank you so much for joining us.

STENGEL: Thank you, Walter.


AMANPOUR: And, of course, Rich Stengel is right, more of the great man, be able to listen to him is so much better than less.

And finally, tonight, high politics and high art gathered for the 2022 Kennedy Center Honors in Washington last night. Those who are celebrated

include soul superstar Gladys Knight the, composer Tania Leon, singer/songwriter Amy Grant, the actor George Clooney, and the rock stars

U2. And throughout the night, other stars pay tribute with special performances of their work. Here is Pearl Jam's, Eddie Vedder, singing one

of U2s biggest hits.


EDDIE VEDDER, PEARL JAM, LEAD SINGER: One love, one blood. One life, you got to do what you should. One life with each other. Sisters, brothers. One



AMANPOUR: Eddie Vedder there doing a very good job. But there was another VIP guest who soaked up much deserved attention. Paul Pelosi, husband of

the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it was his first public appearance since he was attacked at their home in San Francisco just before the midterm

elections. A huge amount of applause for him and for her.


That is it for now. Remember, you can always catch us online, across social media, and, of course, on our podcast. You can find that at

and on all major platforms, just search AMANPOUR. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.