Credit: AP; Keith Bernstein

Nobel Peace Prize winner and former South African president Nelson Mandela, who died Tuesday at the age of 95, is the subject of the new film, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, released last week. The film stars Idris Elba (Thor: The Dark World) and is directed by Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl). On behalf of the Weinstein Company, which is distributing the film, studio Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein released the following statement:

“One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalize those who have made a profound impact on humanity. We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy. It’s been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation.”

Last August, EW spoke with director Chadwick about making the film, which was shot in South Africa. Weeks before shooting, Chadwick got to meet Mandela, who had been in frail health. “That was a moment and an afternoon I will never, ever, ever forget,” Chadwick told EW. “I was invited to the house for tea. The electricity that came off him was amazing. It was a great, great meeting. I started shooting about three weeks later, and I just carried that energy with me all the way through [filming].”