Nelson Mandela’s daughter Zindzi paid a fine compliment to “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” star Idris Elba, who plays her father, as she took the microphone to open the Los Angeles premiere of the biopic on Monday night.
“[He’s] a man whom I don’t mind calling ‘big daddy’ anytime,” she said, drawing a big laugh from the crowd in the Arclight dome.
Mandela had no complaints on seeing herself portrayed on screen either. “[They] chose someone quite cute and quite skinny,” she told TheWrap before the screening.
(Top: Elba, Mandela, and Naomie Harris)
Quincy Jones assumed the hosting duties, warming up for the guest of honor.
“I can not believe that little girl that I met in 1991, who used to party me to death when she would come to the states…I am very honored to introduce her to you,” Jones said. “Will you give up all the love you got, a big long strong hug to Zindzi Mandela!”
After a screening in South Africa a week ago, a White House screening for the President followed on Thursday, they showed the film at the Egyptian as part of AFI on Sunday, and Monday night’s “L.A. premiere” filled the Arclight.
“I still can’t quite believe I’m saying I was in their house,” director Justin Chadwick said of his time with the President. “I’m from Manchester in England. What was I doing?”
“The President talked so beautifully about the film…about the importance of the film for the next generation, and to his children, and to him, and he talked about Mandela and what Mandela meant to him as a man,” Chadwick said.
“It was such an honor, it was a privilege (to screen at the White House,)” Elba added.
Elba also gave a positive verbal yelp for the White House “mess”. “They hooked us up with some popcorn and that, so that was cool.”
Before asking how many people in the crowd were filmmakers (about 10% of the crowd raised their hands), he acknowledged that an L.A. screening can be a tough demographic.
“This is L.A., but you guys making a massive effort, there are some massive great people in this room and I really appreciate you coming out to spread the word for this film.”
Some of those who will be spreading the word (from left): Tracee Ellis Ross, Taraji P. Henson (who skipped the the autograph line); Stana Katic, the “Castle” star who got one of the loudest pops from the crowd gathered on Sunset, and Emmanuelle Chriqui.
Elsewhere at the Burberry sponsored premiere (they dressed both director Chadwick and Elba), Lisa Leslie towered over everyone, Tommy Davidson was on his way to the NAACP Theatre Awards at the Saban, and Angela Bassett, David Oyelowo, and Ana de la Reguera all worked the carpet.
It was a long walk down the carpet too.
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” debuts on the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend, November 29.
(Photos by Chelsea Lauren and Charley Gallay/Getty Images)