JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Nelson Mandela was amused by the elaborate makeup process a British actor went through to play him in a film based on his autobiography, the movie’s producer said Saturday of a special screening for the former South African president last year.
“Is that me?” Anant Singh, the South African producer of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” recalled a smiling Mandela as saying when he saw a picture of actor Idris Elba as an elderly version of the man who spent 27 years in jail under white minority rule. After he was freed, Mandela led South Africa through a difficult transition to its first racially inclusive elections in 1994, a historic event that propelled him to the presidency and inspired many around the world.
“I said, ‘Madiba, you really think it’s you?'” Singh replied, using Mandela’s clan name. He then explained that Elba sat through more than five hours of makeup before filming even began. Singh had visited Mandela at his home in Qunu, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. Mandela, 95, has stayed in a hospital in Pretoria, the capital, several times since December and remains critically ill at his Johannesburg home.
Singh and members of the cast spoke at a news conference in Johannesburg Saturday hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation for the film, which is based on Mandela’s autobiography and will be released in South Africa in late November before opening in the U.S. and other markets.
Naomie Harris, who starred in the James Bond movie “Skyfall,” plays the role of Winnie Mandela, Mandela’s second wife and a powerful figure in the anti-apartheid movement in her own right. The couple later divorced.
Zindzi Mandela, one of the couple’s children, said she had seen the movie with her mother and that it was an emotional experience. Mandela, she said, is often defined by his prison experiences and his fight against apartheid, but she was pleased to see that the movie also focuses on the traditional values of hierarchy, structure and discipline that shaped him in his early years in the rural Eastern Cape.
“Those values are what made him better able to face challenges ahead of him,” she said.
Zindzi Mandela said she was particularly moved by a film scene in which she and her sister are left alone, with both their parents in detention. She said the sequence evoked “the absence of a father and the absence of a mother and the absence of a normal family life.”
Singh said Winnie, whose last name is now Madikizela-Mandela, turned to him after seeing the movie and said:
“It’s beautiful. Don’t change anything. I love it.”
The $35 million film was directed by Justin Chadwick. It also features actor Tony Kgoroge, who played the role of a presidential security chief in “Invictus,” the 2009 movie directed by Clint Eastwood that starred Morgan Freeman as Mandela in the period leading up to South Africa’s World Cup rugby title in 1995. This time, Kgoroge plays Walter Sisulu, a longtime associate of Mandela.
Elba did not attend the news conference because he was ill. Kgoroge praised Elba’s performance as Mandela, describing him as “very hungry” and “looking forward to going into the depth of his character.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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