Actor Idris Elba hospitalized after asthma attack on airplane

Nov. 2, 2013 at 2:25 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Idris Elba, star of "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," suffered an asthma attack after boarding a jet at London's Heathrow International Airport, producers said.

Elba, who was to fly to Johannesburg, South Africa, for the movie's premiere, was taken off the plane and hospitalized, Sky News reported.

The movie's producer said at a news conference Saturday in Johannesburg he hoped Elba would recover in time to get to Sunday's premiere. Elba stars as Nelson Mandela, with Naomie Harris, who recently appeared in the James Bond movie "Skyfall," playing Mandela's now ex-wife, Winnie.

Elba, 41, the son of African immigrants, grew up in Britain. He became a star playing a drug lord on the HBO crime series "The Wire" from 2002 to 2004 and more recently starred in the BBC police series "Luther."

In an interview in the current issue of Playboy, Elba described his life immediately before "The Wire," USA Today reported. He said acting jobs had dried up and at one point he lived in a van for three months.

He said he became a heavy user of marijuana during that time.

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