British Talent Shines at Royal Premiere of Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom

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By Priya Joshi | December 6, 2013 8:57 AM EST

Stars of Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom attend the film's Royal Premiere.

The best of British acting talent mingled with royalty at the UK Royal premiere of Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom.

The film's stars, Naomie Harris and Hackney-born Idris Elba, took to the red carpet at the Odeon Leicester Square for the first UK screening of the film, in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Elba portrays Mandela in the film, which chronicles the South African leader's early political life and his 27 years in prison before becoming President.

Speaking about the responsibility of portraying the iconic leader on celluloid, the 41-year-old star said: "Everyone knows who Mandela is, everyone has an idea of what he sounds and looks like. I worked really hard to pull in all the elements, from the sound of his voice to the way he walks.

"I don't look anything like him but it was really important the audience got a sense of who Mandela is because the likelihood is that we will never meet him in person.

'For someone who doesn't look like Mandela you have got to work harder to get the audience in there," he added.

Producer Harvey Weinstein with Idris Elba, Naomie Harris and director Justin Chadwick.

The actor, who met William and Kate ahead of the film's screening said the Royal Premiere of the film was a cause for great pride.   

"Tonight is extra special because this is my country and when the royals come out to watch a film it's a big deal. I feel very proud that it's my film, really proud."

37-year-old Harris, who plays his wife, Winnie Madikizela in the film, braved the wintery weather in a strapless black dress by Alexander McQueen with an embellished peplum.

Other stars attending the premiere included Richard E.Grant, singer Jamelia, fashion designer Amanda Wakeley, Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein and Nelson Mandela's daughter Zindzi Mandela.

Proceeds from the premiere will go towards the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, which supports industry employees and their families in times of hardship and   the  Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, which supports disadvantaged youth in South Africa.

Directed by Bafta Award winning Justin Chadwick, Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom is released in the UK on January 3.

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