For a guy so old he can remember where he was when he first heard the news that Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated, it is surprising that Clint Eastwood cranks his movies out with the rapidity of a nervous teen’s first sexual encounter. Even with The Changeling
and Gran Torino
both only having hit cinemas inside the last twelve months, there won’t be much of a delay before audiences get a chance to cast their peepers over the latest directorial effort from the erstwhile Man with No Name, with the freshly re-titled Invictus
having been scheduled for US release on 11 December.
Having filmed under working title The Human Factor
, Eastwood’s movie chronicles the efforts of South African President Nelson Mandela to effect national reconciliation following decades of apartheid, under the unifying banner of his country’s 1995 Rugby World Cup triumph. Following in the footsteps of Dennis Haysbert and Sidney Poitier as Mandela himself will be Eastwood’s Unforgiven
and Million Dollar Baby
co-star Morgan Freeman, while Matt Damon co-stars as the Springboks victorious captain Francois Pienaar.
The new title Invictus
is taken from a favoured poem of Mandela’s, originally penned by one-footed English scribe William Ernest Henley, and the film is based on the book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation
by John Carlin. The screenplay is by Anthony Peckham, who worked on the script of Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes
reboot (which itself opens just two weeks after Invictus
While myriad games lesson spent chewing on muddy turf when attempting to dispossess the bigger boys have saddled me with a deep-rooted fear of backwards-passing, egg-shaped ball games, the first week of December release date suggests that Clint is counting that his old chums at the Academy will come to Invictus
free of any such prejudice. It will be fresh in mind when it comes to allocating all those nominations in spring 2010, and the true-life source material, inspirational message and central figure of Mandela looks like a confection which will not only seduce the Oscar voters, but also take them home, bang them senseless till the first birdsong of the morn, and see them off with an egg sarnie and woolly pledge to give them a call at some indeterminate point later in the week.
Sources: Dark Horizons, Variety, Daemon’s Movies