Morgan Freeman Discusses Channeling Nelson Mandela

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Clint Eastwood's latest directorial effort, Invictus, hits theaters tomorrow. Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, focuses on the beginning of Nelson Mandela's term as president of apartheid-torn South Africa, and his efforts to unite the country by encouraging the national rugby team to win the World Cup. has posted some interview snippets with the cast of Invictus. In the article, Morgan Freeman gives some really interesting insight into how he came to play South African president Nelson Mandela, and how he prepared for the role.

Mandela- Cool Dude in a Luxury Car

Apparently, Nelson Mandela himself was asked who he would prefer to play him if his autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom, was ever turned into a movie.

"He said 'Morgan Freeman,'" says the actor, "So from then on it was, okay, Morgan Freeman is going to be Mandela somewhere down the line."

Upon deciding that the 1995 World Cup was the perfect way to frame the movie, Freeman began working to get inside Mandela's head.

"I said to him, 'If I'm going to play you, I'm going to have to have access to you. I'm going to have to get close enough to hold your hand."

Apparently, he meant that literally: "Now that's not for camaraderie. I find that if I hold your hand, I get your energy. It transfers. I get a sense of how you feel. That's important to me in trying to become another person."

Co-star Matt Damon also talks about what it was like to play Rugby Captain Francois Pienaar: "I was in better shape for this movie [than 'Bourne']. I was in the gym every day... This is [Francois'] life. I don't want to embarrass him. If Jason Bourne looks a little flabby, that's on me."

Both actors give more insight into the picture, and discuss briefly what it's like to work with director Clint Eastwood. For the rest of the article, head on over to, and don't forget to check out Invictus in theaters, starting Friday, December 11.

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Invictus Quotes

Nelson Mandela: How long before the World Cup?
Jim Fleming: Don't get your hopes up. We're a damn disgrace!

[watching a rugby match] All the whites cheer for South Africa. All the blacks cheer for England.

Nelson Mandela

Invictus Review

Clint Eastwood's Invictus tells the story of Nelson Mandela's attempt to unite apartheid-torn South Africa by having the national rugby...

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