It was a big night for Idris Elba and Naomie Harris as they brought their historic film, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom to New York City at the Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center with special guest, Nelson Mandela’s daughter Zindzi. For the premiere, Elba, who stars as the iconic leader, was joined by his on-screen wife, Harris, who told InStyle.com that she did her fair share of research in preparation for her role as Winnie. “I interviewed people who knew Winnie, I watched documentaries about the Apartheid era, I read biographies written about her, I watched hours of uncut footage of her being interviewed,” she said. “I also sat down with Winnie herself, which was amazing.” The film is based on the 1994 biography written by Mandela himself, which chronicles his early years growing up in the rural Cape region, to his days as a lawyer and Apartheid resistance leader, his 27 years spent in prison, and finally his election as South Africa’s first-ever democratically voted president. It also touches on the relationship of Nelson and Winnie, who after Nelson went to jail, spent almost a year in solitary confinement, yet managed to express her strength through style. “The fashion is really about self-expression, it’s very colorful and very different,” Harris explained. “They have their own sense of style, almost peacock-like, its vibrancy and the use of colors.” As for Harris’ style on the red carpet, the actress stunned in a black sheer tulle Valentino embroidered gown and admitted that she gets to “have fun, play, and be outlandish” when it comes to her premiere looks. “[Since] you’re actually in the movie, you can go a bit further because normally you kind of feel like, ‘Oh I don’t want to dress up too much,’ but now you’re like ‘oh, well it is my movie so I’m going to dress up!,’” she laughed. Catch Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom out in theaters everywhere on November 29th.
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