Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is SA's Highest Grossing Film; Idris Elba And Morgan Freeman on Being Madiba

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By arjun varma | December 6, 2013 7:03 PM EST

The news of Nelson Mandela’s demise reached two of his youngest daughters, Zindzi and Zenani, while they were attending the London Royal Premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom on 5 December.

"They received the news of their father’s passing during the screening and immediately left the cinema," the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement.

According to a Mirror report, they insisted to producers that the film should not be interrupted and that guests, including Prince William and Kate, should watch Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom to the end as planned.

So the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sat through the Leicester Square premiere, along with scores of Mandela’s friends and supporters and watched in full the incredible life story of the iconic leader.

Lights were brought up shortly after the film ended, and producer Anant Singh shared the sad news with the audience from the stage at the front of the theater, accompanied by Chadwick, Elba and producer David Thompson.

Singh's short announcement was followed by a minute of silence from the audience.

Idris Elba, who plays Mandela in the film, said in a statement: “What an honor 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."

Morgan Freeman, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Mandela in "Invictus," also issued a statement on Thursday: "Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve — a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we’ve come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us."

The film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which released on 29 November 2013, became South Africa's highest grossing picture in the week before the death of the South African freedom leader, says a report by Nine MSN.

The movie traces Mandela's life from his childhood in a remote rural part of South Africa, through his years of struggle against apartheid, to his 27 years imprisonment and his election as the country's first black president in 1994.

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