Monday, 4 November 2013

NEWS: British actor Idris Elba stars at South African premiere of Mandela movie

British actor Idris Elba has made the premiere of a new
movie about the life of Nelson Mandela the day after he
had to go to hospital because of an asthma attack.
There had been fears that Mr Elba, who takes the lead
role of the legendary South African leader, would not be
able to make it because he was too ill.
He told Sky News the attack took him by surprise.
He said: "I've battled asthma most of my life and it just
overwhelmingly took me down on Friday while I was
sitting on a plane.
Naomie Harris (L) who plays Winnie Mandela, poses with
Zindzi Mandela
"It was a very scary moment for me. A doctor on the
plane helped me through it. Thankfully I am here."
Many of Mr Mandela's close family were on the red
carpet in honour of the man who fought for the
democratic rights of black South Africans.
He went on to become the country's first black president.
His daughter Zindzi told a news conference ahead of the
film's launch how emotional she became when she
watched Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
She watched it for the first time with her mother, Winnie
Madikizela Mandela, Mr Mandela's second wife.
Photographers at a news conference for the movie
"It was difficult to watch," she said. "At times I had to look
away because it reminded me of the pain and loneliness
of all those times when we had neither my father, nor my
It is, however, a film which has been endorsed by the
Mandela family and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The film's producer, South African Anant Singh, got
personal approval from Nelson Mandela himself, who is
now critically ill in hospital.
Mr Mandela saw excerpts and stills from the film at his
home in Qunu last year.
Mr Singh recounted how, upon seeing actor Idris Elba
playing his older self, Mr Mandela asked him: "Is that
Elba himself missed the pre-premiere publicity the
day before the launch after having an asthma attack
as he was boarding the plane to South Africa.
But he was able to make the launch at the upmarket
Rosebank cinema complex in Johannesburg.
The film may have a British director – Justin Chadwick –
and two British actors in the leading roles (Naomie Harris
is playing Winnie), but the film-makers insist it is a South
African story told largely by South Africans.
The director did not want to use acting extras, but chose
to film many of the scenes in situ in the townships.
With a budget of just $35m (£21.9m) it is a relatively low-
cost film, especially since they had to build many of the
locations – such as the Robben Island jail where
Mandela spent decades.

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