Morgan Freeman Was "Destined" to Play Mandela in Invictus
12.07.09 by BJSprecher
In Invictus, Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman's latest teaming with multiple Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood, Freeman portrays anti-apartheid activist and former South African President Nelson Mandela. It is a role that Freeman said he always knew that he would play some day.
...it wasn’t necessarily this project, but I felt destined to do something about Mandela. I don’t know whether you know that in 1992, when he published his autobiography, he was asked who he would want to play him, if the book ever became a movie. And he named me. So, I was sort of the chosen one, as it were. Therefore, I expected that eventually I would play him, but we always thought it would be in a movie version of Long Walk to Freedom. It didn’t turn out that way, however.
Based on the John Carlin book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation, Invictus tells the story of Mandela's efforts to draw the fractured nation together following the fall of apartheid by using the 1995 Rugby World Cub as a rallying point. To prepare for the role, Freeman said that he had read a great deal about the Nobel Peace Prize winner, but that to him "acting is believing."
That’s the way I learned it, and how I still think of it. So, in order to be true to any character, you have to believe that you are that character, and that you have his belief system working for you. That way, when you’re reciting your lines, you’ll be saying them from a place of conviction.
The adapted screenplay was written by
Anthony Peckham, who also wrote the script for the upcoming Guy Ritchie-directed Sherlock Holmes. Matt Damon also stars, as Francois Pienaar, the South African Rugby team captain.