Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Idris Elba at the NY premiere of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” | Getty Photo

The Weinstein Company announced this week that they will be presenting a special screening of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington on Nov. 20. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator John McCain and General Colin Powell will host the screening in the Eisenhower Theater. Stars Naomie Harris, director Justin Chadwick and Harvey Weinstein are set to attend.

PHOTO GALLERY: New York Premiere of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”

“Mandela” is based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. Idris Elba stars as Nelson Mandela, Naomie Harris portrays Winnie Mandela, and Justin Chadwick directed the epic.

Last night “Mandela” had its New York premiere at Alice Tully Hall, with Harvey Weinstein, Mr. Mandela’s daughter Zindzi, Chadwick and stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris attending. After watching the epic, which is about 160 minutes long, in a strong year for male actors, Idris Elba has a good shot at an Oscar nomination.

In the theater attending last night’s screening, we also spotted Ron Wood and his three decades younger wife Sally Humphreys.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Zindzi Mandela at the NY premiere of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” | Paula Schwartz Photo

In his introduction to the film, Harvey Weinstein said of Nelson Mandela, “This incredible man, probably the most charismatic man I ever met in my life, probably the most transcendent figure of our times because he had two incredible abilities, as far as I’m concerned: leadership and forgiveness.”

Nelson’s daughter Zindzi Mandela received tremendous applause as she took the stage. “It hasn’t been an easy life growing up with parents like mine. I was 18 months old when my father went to prison. I was a grown woman and a mother of three when he came back, and that had its challenges. For example, when I went to go out at night, he’d say to me, ‘Darling, who’s your chaperone?’”

She congratulated the team that put the movie together, “for doing an outstanding job and being one of the truest depictions of my father’s character and his back story that has ever been told.”

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Naomie Harris at the NY premiere of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” | Paula Schwartz Photo

She began by commending the cast. “I apologize to all the feminists here, but I’m going to start with Idris Elba. Nothing wrong with that ladies! He is a man who is exceptionally talented yet so humble, so modest, a man of integrity. Who better to play the role of Nelson Mandela who has similar qualities?

Mandela added, “Naomie Harris, who overwhelmed my mother herself. My mother said to the director that he should not change a thing. As you watch her, the growth of person and her physical beauty as the movie progresses is a remarkable process and a remarkable journey.”

She said much attention had been paid to how her father united the country and took over the presidency of South Africa, but little had been paid to her father’s formative years and what shaped him as a man and leader.

“The man who has inspired me not to define myself according to what suffering I might have endured, but according to how I’ve triumphed over that suffering and managed to have a positive outlook on life.”



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