Continuing the long string of real-life inspired films that have been rolling into theaters recently, Danish director Bille August is set to direct a movie about Nelson Mandela's relationship with the white prison guard who was his personal warden during Mandela's long incarceration on Robben Island. Entitled Goodbye Bafana, the film is based on a memoir of the same name by the guard, James Gregory (adapted for the screen by Greg Latter). 'Bafana Bafana' is the nickname by which the South African soccer team is known; one assumes the word 'Bafana' is a fond general reference to the country itself, but if someone knows for sure, please let us know in the comments.*

The multinational cast will be anchored by the wonderful Dennis Haysbert as Mandela, with Joseph Fiennes as his guard and German actress Diane Kruger in the role of Gregory's wife. Playing an icon like Mandela is an unimaginably huge responsibility - I can't even fathom the pressure that Haysbert must feel. He is, however, one of the must dignified, underrated screen presences we have right now (not to mention by far the best spokesman an insurance company has ever had); if anyone can do it, he's probably up to the task.

The film has a budget of about $25 million, and is expected to start shooting next month in South Africa.

*Thanks to Serena for clearing things up: "Eh, the name Bafana, in the context of this story, has nothing to do with football or the nation. This is supposed to be James Gregory's story, and when he was a kid he had a zulu friend named Bafana. When Mandela was released, Gregory embraced him and said, "goodbye, Bafana", recalling the friend from his childhood."


[via Dark Horizons]