Idris Elba, who stars as Nelson Mandela in the upcoming film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, was hospitalized earlier today in the UK. He was on his way to attend the South African premiere of Mandela when he suffered a serious asthma attack before his flight.
Elba, who was introduced to U.S. audiences through his role as Stringer Bell on HBO’s The Wire, was expected to attend the premiere of Mandela tonight but he may appear on the red carpet Sunday in Johannesburg. He is reportedly recovering well.
Of his role as Nelson Mandela, the popular president who fought against apartheid in South Africa, Elba said in an Express UK interview: “It was tough to walk into a room with extras who had never seen me before. How do you get these people to look me in the eye when I was speaking and believe me as Mandela.” It was reported that Denzel Washington would nab the Mandela role so Elba was surprised he was chosen to play the iconic South African politician.
Elba, whose popular UK show Luther recently aired its third season in the U.S., isn’t afraid to play diverse roles though Nelson Mandela may be his biggest role yet.
POPULAR IDRIS ELBA QUOTES
“I’m not interested in making all-black films, I come from a very diverse culture; I want to work with every type of person. I work a lot with women executives because they seem to be a lot more open minded about that and a lot more progressive in that way.”
“I’m rebelling against being handed a career, like, ‘You’re the next this; you’re the next that.’ I’m not the next anything, I’m the first me. I can’t be myself, I can’t just be Idris Elba. But that’s just the nature of the business.”
“Bond? It is a bit like saying, ‘Do you want to play Superman?’ Anyone would dream of it. It’s one of the most coveted roles in film. I’d be honoured. But I don’t know if it will actually happen. I’m just happy with the idea of being associated with it. It’s nice there’s a lot of goodwill.”
“I lived in America for a long time before I started working as an actor. Some actors show up on set and have never done an American accent before, so they rely on a slew of technical mechanisms. Part of what makes an accent is understanding why people speak that way, you have to understand the culture.”
“It’s actually quite criminal how ‘The Wire’ was systematically ignored.”
By Juana Poareo