Spanish Television broadcasts this Saturday to Undefeatedthe film in charge of putting the tie to the cycle dedicated to Clint Eastwood. Starring Morgan Freeman in the titanic role of Nelson Mandela, focuses on a small chapter in the history of the first democratically elected president of the Republic of South Africa. After abolishing Apartheid, Nelson Mandela’s mission was build national unity in a country fragmented by injustice and racial tensions. To do this, he turned to the person who least expected it.
The year was 1995. The event, the celebration in South Africa of the rugby world cup. His ally, the player and leader of the team Francois Pienaar, played by Matt Damon. These are some curiosities about the movie It was nominated for two Oscars and three Golden Globes.
Nelson Mandela wanted Morgan Freeman to play him
Morgan Freeman had the explicit approval of Nelson Mandela to play him in a movie about his life. As the actor always tells, Mandela himself said it at a press conference for his book, Long Walk To Freedomin 1994. For Freeman, It was harder than playing God: the clint eastwood movie It gave him the opportunity to settle his unfinished business with history and to step into the shoes of one of the most important people in the international community as we know it, and the actor took it very seriously. Left-handed, he learned to behave right-handed for the movie that had been preparing for decades to interpret. Things that, by the way, the actor talked about in his interview in The breakfast of RTVE.
He also gave the movie a thumbs up.
Before filming began on Invictus, Morgan Freeman and director Lori McCreary visited South Africa to get the go-ahead from Nelson Mandela. According to McCreary, it was the actor who set out to explain the film’s premise to him: “Madiba,” he told him, using his people’s way of referring to Mandela, “we’ve been working on this project for a long time and we think we’ve read something that could help us explain what you are deep down…”, and that Mandela interrupted him. “Oh, the world”he said, sensing her intentions. “That’s when I knew we were on the right track,” said the producer when telling this anecdote.
Morgan Freeman and Nelson Mandela were friends
Morgan Freeman had developed a friendship with Nelson Mandela over the years, although the activist imposed a lot on him when he first saw it. They met in 1994, on the aforementioned tour of his autobiography, and given the interest that Mandela had shown in him they got together to talk about a possible project that would not see the light, as we now know, until 2009, four years before Mandela’s death. When she had him in front of her, she didn’t know what to talk to him about. “The most normal thing when you meet someone like that is to talk about world politics and ask him what he thinks of things, but that’s not fun. ¡let’s talk about womenof sports!“, he thought. He bought the rights to his autobiography and they had several meetings together and, although in the end he preferred to act in Invictus than to make his own film, he knows what it is what he learned from watching the leader over and over again: the stillness. “He is a silent man, his soul is silent.”
The real prison of Nelson Mandela appears in Undefeated
When the South African team visits a prison, it is the same one where he was imprisoned for 18 years.
Clint Eastwood’s children participated in the film
If you have a trained eye, you will have noticed that Scott Eastwood plays one of the South African national team players, Joel Stransky. He is surely the best known of all his children, and has also appeared in his father’s films such as Flags of Our Fathers either Great Turinas well as in Hollywood blockbusters such as suicide squad or the latest deliveries of Fast and Furious. But Kyle Eastwood, the eldest son of the actoralso participates in Undefeatedspecifically in the soundtrack: A musician by profession, he was at a jazz festival in South Africa when production began on the film, and his father asked him to look up local bands to see what he could find.
More visual effects than you think
The scenes shot in the rugby stadium have about 2,000 extras. It’s no small feat, but it’s nowhere near the final amount of viewers we see cheering on Matt Damon’s team: it’s through digital effects that those two thousand actors became 62,000 peoplesomething that is already common (let’s think of movies like Bohemian Rhapsody, the Queen biopic, which filled the Live Aid stadium with digital actors), but not then it was not such a frequent technique. Yes indeed: all matches were filmed at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburgwhere they actually developed.
The ‘zasca’ of Clint Eastwood to Matt Damon
Clint Eastwood is famous for trying rush your scenes in one take so as not to get out of the shooting plan and finish the films on time. On the first day of shooting, Matt Damon asked him to retake a take and he blurted out, “What for? Do you want to make us all waste our time?“. So anyone makes an effort to do things the first time.
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Clint Eastwood’s children in ‘Invictus’ and other curiosities
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