Since there’s no trailer or detailed synopsis available just yet, I’m not going to get all long-winded on this project. Instead, I’m just going to spread out some predictions, early as they may be: Invictus, the next directorial effort from Clint Eastwood, will receive at least four Academy Award nominations come next January—–Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Morgan Freeman), and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Matt Damon). If I have to explain why I’m making these claims, then you must not have any sense of how the Academy works, or what a surefire awards’ titan sounds like on the page.
Based on John Carlin’s book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation, Invictus hits theaters on December 11, and stars Freeman as Mandela. The film focuses on Mandela’s attempts to unify Africa during his first presidential term after the Apartheid, by trying to host the 1985 Rugby World Cup; Damon plays Francois Pienaar, a world famous rugby player and eventual ally for Mandela. A few on-set photos have hit the Web over the past few months, but today brings our first official look at Freeman as Mandela, though it just looks like Freeman wearing a green outfit; not much physical transformation to be seen. Still works for me, though—-this casting seems as right as two + two = four.
The film’s title comes from a poem written by William Earnest Henley, a poem that Mandela used to recite regularly. The last lines are: “It matters not how straight the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
Again, Invictus is set for a December 11 release. I’ll keep eyes and ears open for any future trailers, making-ofs, pictures, and the such. After the jump, you’ll find a couple of on-set snaps:
The real Mandela and Pienaar:
Shots on Matt Damon in character: