Idris Elba hospitalised ahead of Nelson Mandela film premiere in South Africa

Elba had to be taken to hospital after falling ill on a plane before it departed

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The Independent Culture

Idris Elba is recovering in hospital after falling ill on a plane ready to depart for South Africa earlier today.

The star of the forthcoming Nelson Mandela biopic Long Walk to Freedom suffered an asthma attack on his way to a news conference in Johannesburg, according to reports.

He became ill on the plane before it left the UK and was transported to hospital, Sky News have reported, but producer Anant Singh is hopeful he will have recovered in time for the film's premiere on Sunday.

"Idris is in hospital after an asthma attack on the plane last night," Mr Singh told reporters at the press conference.

The British actor rose to fame in his role as drug lord Russell "Stringer" Bell in HBO series The Wire, before joining BBC One series Luther, where he was awarded a Golden Globe for his critically acclaimed role as Detective John Luther.

At the Toronto screening of the film earlier in the year, Elba said he just: "plugged into the energy of Mandela and the way people respect him" to play the anti-apartheid leader.

"There was no messing about with this character and this story," the 41-year-old added. 

Elba stars alongside Skyfall actress Naomie Harris in the movie, who plays Mr Mandela's wife Winnie.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will be released in the UK on 3 January, 2014.