Friday, December 11, 2009

Invictus (Rhoades)

“Invictus” Makes Casting Look Easy
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

While having lunch yesterday with some publishing friends, commiserating about a maddening day at work, we starting joking about a movie version of our zany little group. The conversation turned to which actor would play whom among us.

With my silver beard, someone suggested I should be portrayed by Derek Jacobi – the benign Derek Jacobi from “Gladiator,” I was told, not the evil scissor-wielding Jacobi from “Dead Again.”

Darn. I was hoping for, say, Sean Connery.

Who would you pick to play you in a movie about your life?

Well, former South Africa president Nelson Mandela suggested that only Morgan Freeman should play him in a movie. Good choice, an Academy Award-winning actor beloved by audiences worldwide.

Mandela’s an interesting character study. Before his presidency (1994 – 1999), he was an anti-apartheid activist who had served 27 years in prison. Following his release in February 1990, he became the country’s first president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Perhaps his major accomplishment, he helped lead South Africa to become a truly multi-racial society.

John Carlin wrote a book about Mandela’s role in bringing blacks and whites together. Titled “Playing The Enemy: Nelson Mandela And The Game That Changed a Nation,” it detailed his early years as South Africa’s president and how he used the country’s love of rugby to pull its people together.

That story comes to the silver screen under the title “Invictus,” a Latin word meaning invincible or unconquered. And as Mandela had hoped, it stars actor Morgan Freeman as the South Africa leader.

“Invictus” – the latest film from venerable director Clint Eastwood – is playing at the Tropic Cinema.

Another Academy Award-winner, popular Matt Damon, joins the party as Francois Pienaar, the captain of the Springboks national rugby team who Mandela taps to assist in turning the apartheid tide. If only the small African nation could win the 1995 Rugby World Cup, everybody would be pulling together.

And miracle of miracles, the underdog team actually wins the tournament, upsetting the New Zealand favorites by 15–12 in the final.

Yes, this is more an inspiring sports story than a Nelson Mandela biopic. And that’s just fine, under the sure-handed direction of Eastwood.

An uplifting true story.

And perfectly cast.
[from Solares Hill]

No comments: