“We did a good job of reinventing and bringing him (Mandela) back,” Freeman told journalists at the premier of Clint Eastwood’s new film “Invictus” outside Johannesburg.
The film deals with events surrounding the 1995 Rugby World Cup in recently post-apartheid South Africa and how Mandela used the tournament – won by South Africa – to bring whites and blacks together.
Mandela appeared in a South Africa jersey to present the trophy to captain Francois Piennar after the final at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, in what became an iconic moment in the history of the country and sport.
“It’s about people, it’s about human interaction, it’s a story about South African history… I think it’s universal,” Freeman said.
The glittering event was attended by local film stars and celebrities such as Leleti Khumalo – star of the 2004 Oscar-nominated film “Yesterday” – Mandela’s former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and their daughter Zinzi.
The 1995 World Cup rugby team side also attended.
South African actor Patrick Mofokeng, who plays Mandela’s bodyguard in the film, said Freeman was the perfect man to portray the icon.
“It was an awesome experience to have taken part in this movie. I don’t think there is any other person who would be able to play the role of Nelson Mandela other than Morgan Freeman. He is Mandela,” said Mofokeng.
The movie opens to the public on Friday.
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