Tuesday, February 09, 2010
The highest profile rugby movie ever made, Invictus, premiered in the UK recently following releases in the US and the country the movie is about, South Africa. England's World Cup winner in 2003, Matt Dawson, sat down to chat to actor Matt Damon, and the man Damon played in the movie, Francois Pienaar.
The movie follows the 1995 Springbok rugby team as they, along with the help of newly elected president Nelson Mandela, set out to bring a racially and economically divided country together by winning the Rugby World Cup at the first attempt.
Damon played the part of Pienaar, who in reality is far taller and bigger than the actor. Damon put a great deal of pressure on himself to do the role justice, spending many hours in the gym and taking time to perfect Pienaar's South African accent.
"The accent took about six months. It took a lot to get it. They talk real different down there," he said. "It's a big responsibility. It didn't help that I liked Francois so much. I really wanted him to like the film."
When comparing the fitness regimes for Invictus to the Bourne Identity movies, he says this was far tougher than the other physical roles he's played.
"I was in better shape with this movie. Francois came to the gym with me a couple of times. This is his life. I dont want to embarrass him. If Jason Bourne looks a little flabby, thats on me! I wasnt going to be for any lack of effort - which actually is what the team is famous for.
"They are known for going the extra mile. Knowing themselves, to say that we might not be the most talented team and the line is even in the movie, the coach says, We may not be the best team, but we will be the fittest. Francois told me their training regiment. Its unreal what those guys went through."
While reviews of the movie have been mixed, it's fair to say that Director Clint Eastwood wasn't out to change the face of movie making. What he did though, is create a biopic of a great moment in South African history, as black and white stood together to support one team, with a common goal in mind.
Damon and Morgan Freeman, who played Mandela, have both been nominated for Oscar awards for their roles in playing two of the most influential men in the country's history.
"It's such an incredible moment in South Africa's history. I think everybody felt it who worked on the movie. It was different to other movies," the actor added.
Matt Dawson had a chat to Pienaar and Damon to hear their thoughts and feelings surrounding the film, and finds out if Pienaar felt it was a worthy portrayal of events as he remembers them.
If you've seen the movie already, what were your thoughts on it?
Time: 8:04 & 2:52