Nelson Mandela death confirmed during UK premiere of biopic
Two minutes of silence observed during Royal Film Performance.
The tragic news of Nelson Mandela’s death at the age of 95 was confirmed as the Royal Film Performance 2013 of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom was coming to a close in London’s Leicester Square on Thursday night.
Two minutes of silence were observed at the end of the screening.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the charity premiere alongside director Justin Chadwick, stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris and Nelson Mandela’s daughter Zindzi.
The film, which premiered in Toronto, has recent broken box-office records in South Africa.
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of the film’s US distributor The Weinstein Company, issued a statement shortly afterwards.
“One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalise those who have made a profound impact on humanity,” said Weinstein.
“We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy. It’s been an honour to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice.
“I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humour was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation.”
Idris Elba, who plays Mandela in the film, said: “What an honour it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Producer Anant Singh, who pursued the film for more than two decades, said: “We have lost our father, an exceptional human being, a hero to the world.
“There has never been anyone quite like him and there will never be. We should be inspired by his life and celebrate him with our love. We will all miss him dearly.
“Our love, thoughts and prayers are with Mama Winnie, Mrs Machel, Zenani, Zindzi, Maki and the entire Mandela Family during this difficult time.”