FIRST LOOK

First Look: Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in Invictus

by
June 7, 2009

Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in Invictus

Ask and you shall receive. When I wrote about the new title and release date for Clint Eastwood's Invictus earlier in the week, I mentioned that "we haven't seen what Morgan Freeman looks like as Mandela yet." That all changes today, as a few new photos have popped up online (via Rope of Silicon) of Freeman on set. The reader says he got a bit role as a World Cup Official and "ended up on the podium next to 'Mandela'", where he was able to snap some cell phone photos, including a shot of Matt Damon as rugby player Francois Pienaar. It's really not the best photo, but it still is our very first look at Freeman as Nelson Mandela.

Morgan Freeman as Nelson MandelaMatt Damon as Francois Pienaar

I should also mention that Awards Daily posted a hand-drawn poster for Invictus when it was known as The Human Factor. It's a very unimpressive poster, which is why I'm not featuring it, and it's probably a very old draft that will never see the light of day again. The film follows Mandela's attempt to use the 1995 Rugby World Cup to heal his nation following his release from prison, the fall of apartheid and his election as president of South Africa. As we reported last week, the title Invictus refers to a poem by William Earnest Henley that was often recited by Mandela. Warner Brothers is bringing the film to theaters in December.

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  • xerxex
    looks pretty good.
  • Caitie
    I'm looking forward to this, I could not think of a better actor that could portray Mandela better than Morgan Freeman. It will great be great to see him in a lead role opposed to when we see him in just a supporting role.
  • Caitie
    sorry for the grammatical errors.
  • d
    what's with Matt Damon?
  • Nelson Mandela was a terrorist, some might have said 'freedom fighter', but in today's eyes he was a terrorist. If he had been a young man doing the things he did to get imprisoned today, he wouldn't have ever got out, he'd have been executed. South Africa is even worse since he got into power too, completely unstable. I'll only watch it if the have this song in it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCPw7P7rjSI - I preferred Steve Biko as a leader, but sadly he never made it through the struggle.
  • solvent
    i guess you are a white south african from your tone mate, cool it. looks like a good film !! love matt damon and morgan freeman
  • I'm not a white South African, far from it really, but I think it is a double standard that people have to make him out to be a hero, when really he was a rebel and a terrorist. I don't mind this at all about him and in many ways he started a great change in South Africa, that obviously needed to happen, but whether it was the change he originally wanted, who knows? I don't think the 'Mission' was accomplished. And I think you can't argue that South Africa is more unstable now?
  • bozoconnors
    "can't argue that South Africa is more unstable..." so... one could argue that South Africa is more stable?
  • If you consider rape, murder, corruption, poverty and robbery stable, then yes.
  • Tari Akpodiete
    guess you don't know history too well, 'CRAPOLA', Mandela went to prison AS a young man and was there for 3 decades. not to mention that he renounced violence. as for him being a 'terrorist', well, you know, when you are a slave and you try to win freedom for yourself and your people, sometimes the slavemasters won't give it to you when you ask nicely. as is famously said: "one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter." and as for Steve Biko not "making it through the struggle" as you so euphemistically put it, well, that's cause he was brutally beaten to death in prison by the guards. you say you're not a 'white South African'? i note that not all of them are bad, by the way, but from what you've said about being 'far from it', i'm guessing you're a self-hating self-loathing person of colour.
  • Fisherr
    Freeman looks alot like Mandela.
  • bozoconnors
    Those were your words sir. "can't argue that South Africa is more unstable…" is the exact same thing as "can argue that South Africa is more stable" Trying to understand... failing.
  • I've been called may things, but a 'self-hating self-loathing person of colour' is a topper! First being accused of being a white racist, then that. How weird. I agree with you Tari that one mans Freedom Fighter is another mans terrorist, and also that you can only fuck a man so many times before he turns around and bites off your nose. My point wasn't really that is was good or bad that he was a terrorist, just that he was one, but people seem to think he has always been a cuddly old man. Steve Biko died the exact day I was born, I've read a lot about him and know how brutal his death was. Sorry Bozo for sending your brain into confusion, maybe I phrased it wrong. It doesn't matter too much anyhow, the film will be sprinkled with the liberal cheesiness you'd expect and none of what's been discussed here will matter.
  • Tari Akpodiete
    my POINT, crapola, is that you need to stop tossing out ridiculous words like 'terrorist'. it's over used and abused. don't like someone's tactics? get dismissive by calling them a 'terrorist'. he rebelled against oppression. no one is suggesting the man was 'cuddly', everyone who knows anything about him pretty much knows what he did and why. they're not the idiots you make them out to be.
  • Sorry man, 'Terrorist' and 'fat beardy baby jesus' are my favourite sayings, I can't help it.
  • Rapidriver
    To be honest I don't think pointing negative things out about South Africa really matters with all else going on in other African countries with genocide and mass killings. It will be nice to have a positive (I'm guessing) film about a country in Africa. There really isn't very many nice things to say about Africa these days. Poaching. Extinction. Wars. Killings. Shrinking jungles etc. I believe the last positive film or even uplifting film I've seen about a country or place in Africa was "The Gods must be Crazy." There has to be a few positive stories to come out of those billion or so people living there.
  • Ziggy
    What is HEIGHT and Weight diff between Damon and Pienaar? I guess they can get the camera angles right - but how are they going to disuise those skinny little legs?
  • Molly
    There are always two sides to a coin Mandela was labled a 'terrorist' but he was in fact a 'freedom fighter' and without his influence when he was released from prison South Africa would have been plunged into a bloody war like what happened in Bosnia. Well I am a very good friend of the Mandela family and lived through the dark days of apartheid and now into the 'new' SA. Yes there is still a lot of problems and crime but lets be realistic the whole of the African continent has crime, curuption and not well governed, still it has its 'majic'. I am a ( white ) South African and lived in various places in Africa all my 50 somthing years.
  • Ziggy
    There is little doubt that SA is an economic basket case and as each year rolls on the problems of poverty and crime become more entrenched. So where is the support from the big powers for this worthy cause? The world leaders love to be photographed with Mandela but seem to offer little meaningful support to SA in ways that count - aid with no strings attached. What a contrast - Mandela the truly great leader and Obama - all talk, deception and no substance.
  • Piet
    It's amazing how many bitter so called ex-South Africans are out there. South Africa has come a long way from the ridiculous Apartheid policies of yesterday. The country still has a lot of problems that will take a couple generations to truly repair. Crime has always been a serious issue in South Africa even during ApartheidI No one can tell me that the townships were safe places for kids to roam and mid-night strolls in the old days. The only difference now is that the criminals have freedom of movement and cops were trained to enfore pass laws rather than fight crime. These bitter ex-South Africans show their ignorance and true colours hiding behind the computer with their silly comments
  • Invictus!!!
    I am a white South African. Lived during apartheid and post apartheid. Things are WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better now then they were. Please overall economic statistics may be worse but the standard of living and dignity of ALL South Africans has improved!!! Can't wait till the movie!!!!!!! :):):)
  • pedro
    CRAPOLA You´re right...Mandela is a 'Terrorist' .. Ok I agree.. what about P.W Botha, Sharperville Massacre white guys, what about the millions you killed in our own Land... Ghandi, Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi (still in prision).. also were called terrorist... And I stand with them againt stupid people like.. whatever the color of your skin IDIOT...
  • dhruk
    Matt Damon: 5?10?, 165 lbs = weedy little guy Francois Pienaar: 6?3?, 238 lbs = top class rugby player In fact, Matt Damon is smaller than Morgan Freeman! Bit strange given Mandela is a little guy and Pienarr is a brute.
  • rory
    I am looking forward to this movie. As I recall, the eventful day of the world cup finals was very inspirational. No.... I am not South African. Just a humble citizen of the world. At the trophy presentation after RSA beat the mighty Kiwis who were favourites to win the world cup. President Mandela Humbly said 'Mr. Pienaar, I wish to thank you for what you have done for our country (refering to winning the Rugby World Cup).' Francois Pienaar replied with eloquent, class & humility: 'No, Mr. President. I wish to thank you.... For all that you have done for our country.' The two giants crack a smile as the trophy was presented. Those word resonate with raw power & emotions for all especially rugby fans. I read the remarks about Mandela having been a 'terrorist'. Please eloborate what act of terrorist activities Mandela was guilty of? Since Mr. Mandela was inprisoned for more than 30 years, how was he able to carry out the acts of terrorism while in jail? 'Terrorist' is an individual or gorup of individuals who carry out acts of threat through random & indiscriminate violence, to strike fear to the public. Creating terror, fear & unrest in an otherwisrwise civil society. Hense, the word 'Terroist'....... Please enlighten this readership , what acts of terror did Mr. Mandela comitted during his 30 years of absence from the general public while under 24 hours of guard survalence. President Mandela preached reconciliation to his country & encouraged the newly empowered NOT to seek retribution. Mr. Mandela was a member of ANC. To some it is a party with socialist idealogy. Perhaps many do not share the same political ideal & views as ANC. As in the nature of politics, ideas, views principles & idealogy differ. That does not implicate that Mr. Mandela was a terrorist. PLease explore the historical events with an open mind & exmine the course of action taken by individuals. Rory
  • Ziggy
    Rory, he was sentenced for alleged terrorist acts! Not while he was in jail.
  • MELVIN
    crapola,you said mandela madeba,a terrorist?sorry man not in the part of africa(liberia)that i live.here is a hero,legend.an example and a living witness of peace hope unity and forgiveness. if only you have ever had the chance to live in his frame,what a change man you will be CRAPOLA WHAT A CHANGE MAN.REMEMBER HE LOVES YOU STILL

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