Idris Elba makes Nelson Mandela movie premiere following asthma attack

Elba says he feels pressure playing Madiba

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The Independent Culture

Idris Elba managed to attend the South African premiere of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom despite being hospitalised due to an asthma attack on Friday.

The 41-year-old Luther actor was taken off a South Africa-bound plane to receive medical treatment and missed a press conference in Johannesburg.

But he showed up for the red carpet, telling Sky News: "I've battled asthma most of my life and it just overwhelmingly took me down on Friday while I was sitting on a plane.

"It was a very scary moment for me. A doctor on the plane helped me through it. Thankfully I am here."

The actor plays former President Nelson Mandela, who remains in a critical condition following a lung infection.

Elba told the Guardian that he felt some pressure in playing the beloved anti-apartheid figure.

"You can see the sweat! No pressure?" he said. "South Africans love their Madiba and it's a massive responsibility to bring him alive in the best possible way."

The Hackney-born actor, who has also appeared in The Wire and the Thor franchise, said he had tried hard to master the accent.

"I just wanted people to recognise him when they heard the sound and say, 'That's Madiba!'"