Thursday, October 29, 2009
The trailer for the much talked about upcoming film Invictus was released earlier this week. The film is based around the events of the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, and features Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar.
Its directed by Clint Eastwood and looks likely to be an Oscar contender if all the hype is to be believed. Rugby is not huge in the US, but the political, historical, and human factor (which incidentally is what the film was going to be named) will no doubt capture the audiences attention.
The title of the movie, Invictus , means unconquered and comes from the poem by William Ernest Henley which talks about being the master of my fate and the captain of my soul .
Initial thoughts? Sceptical. The trailer seems to depict newly elected president Mandela as the mastermind behind the World Cup win in 1995, with the great man seemingly involved in every step of the planning, preparation, and training within the Springbok camp.
Thats really not how it happened at all, but it will no doubt make for a good story that Hollywood will lap up and at the end of the day, its great exposure for rugby.
Mandela did however have a huge role to play in terms of uniting a divided country, as well as motivating the Springbok players in a way that none of them ever imagined. By embracing the sport that was traditionally a white man's game in South Africa, he brought the country together in a way that had never been done before.
Director Eastwood seems to have done an amazing job with the authenticity of the spectacle. Its hard to tell at this stage if the epic will be primarily a rugby movie or more politically based (dare I say probably the latter), but from what you can see in the trailer, they havent missed a detail in terms of genuine kit, advertising boards, and player likenesses.
Its also filmed entirely in and around the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Accents will always be a hot topic when films of this nature are made, but so far it sounds as if Freeman and Damon have done a pretty decent job, despite Freeman sounding truly American at both the start and end of the trailer.
The one concern is that Damon is 5ft10, while Francois Pienaar is 6ft3. Hopefully when watching the film it's not too distracting for die-hard rugby fans. Afterall, it's not aimed at us only anyway.
It will be released in December, and all in all its going to be of great significance for the sport of rugby in general, and will hopefully be an accurate representation of what happened during that ground breaking month of June 1995.