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'Mandela' featurette: Idris Elba talks about the icon who was saint and sinner -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom was the toughest ticket to get in the very few theaters it played last holiday weekend, when it averaged more per-screen than Catching Fire and Frozen. With the film set to expand nationwide on Christmas, a new featurette titled “Mandela: The Leader You Know, The Man You Didn’t” aims to reintroduce the man behind the legend, as well as promote Idris Elba’s candidacy for acting accolades.

In the video, which features commentary from public figures as eclectic as Tom Brokaw and Sean Combs, the inspiring words of the hero himself combine with grainy footage of the early anti-apartheid movement to set the tone for the story of how Mandela became Public Enemy No. 1 for fighting against the white South African regime.

At a precise moment, Mandela’s words overlap with Elba’s, and the actor takes over. There’s very little physical resemblance between the two men, a fact Elba himself has admitted, but the actor emits a determined strength that honors both men.

Watch the clip below:
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White House denies report shutting down official movie screenings during Oscar season -- UPDATE

When you’re president of the United States, literally everything you do or don’t do has political ramifications — even the movies you watch. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the White House will curtail official movie screenings so as not to impact the Oscars race. Some industry heavyweights are sensitive to the fact that Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom was welcomed at the White House with a special screening, while a movie like 12 Years a Slave has not been invited. Since Mandela is a Weinstein Company film, critics implied that the film received such a warm embrace because Harvey Weinstein is a high-profile Obama backer. “If you look at the films they do invite for the big event screenings, it’s obvious you can buy your way into the White House,” a 12 Years exec told the Reporter. “We were not big donors to Obama. Do we wish they would have us? Of course. But it’s not that important.”

UPDATE: Nov. 21, 10:45 p.m. ET. A White House spokeswoman declined to respond to the accusation reportedly made by an anonymous 12 Years a Slave executive, but said in an e-mail, “The White House enjoys the opportunity to screen movies and will continue that tradition. Any reports to the contrary are not accurate.”
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'Mandela' to screen for President Obama at White House

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The Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will get an audience from President Barack Obama, as well as a screening at the Kennedy Center hosted by Hillary Clinton.

The Weinstein Co. tells The Associated Press that Obama will screen the film Thursday at the White House. Mandela’s daughters Zindzi and Zenani Mandela will join, as will the film’s stars, Idris Elba and Naomie Harris.

The film will also screen Nov. 20 at the Kennedy Center, with Clinton hosting the gala.

Though there have been other films about the former South African president, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom has long had Mandela’s approval and the cooperation of his family. It premiered Sunday in Johannesburg with much of Mandela’s family in attendance.

Mandela opens in U.S. theaters Nov. 29.

New 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' trailer set to epic U2 song -- VIDEO

If there’s one real-life story that doesn’t require a swelling soundtrack for added drama, it’s Nelson Mandela’s decades-long struggle to end apartheid and regain his freedom. But in the latest trailer for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, it sure doesn’t hurt.

Idris Elba plays the South African icon in the film, and his powerful performance is backed by an original song by U2, whose frontman, Bono, has long supported Mandela’s cause. The movie is based on Mandela’s 1994 autobiography Long Walk to Freedom.

Check out the preview below:
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'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' trailer: Meet Idris Elba's Nelson Mandela, certified badass

“He was public enemy No. 1, hunted by the police, feared by the government. Revolutionary. Outlaw. Rebel. Fighter.”

Are we talking about a fictional action hero — a vigilante in the tradition of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, or maybe some kind of Bourne descendent?

Nope: Those are the words used to describe none other than South African political leader Nelson Mandela in the following trailer. Though the nonagenarian revolutionary — the ailing icon just celebrated the big 9-5; happy birthday, Your Excellency! — is best known today as a smiling, stooped old man, he was quite the debonair radical until he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1962. Mandela was released in 1990 and elected president of South Africa just four years later.

In Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the man himself is played by Idris Elba — who knows how to smolder and inspire in equal measure, even while delivering occasionally clunky dialogue. (“You are Winnie Madikizela, the first black social worker they’ve ever hired,” he says to the woman who will become his second wife, played here by Naomi Harris. “And you are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.”)

See South Africa’s savior speed away from exploding bombs, be called a womanizer, and exhibit more un-Gandhi-like (and un-Gandhi-like) behavior in the clip below.

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