Yes, Nelson Mandela is still alive, despite what President Bush said (I know it was taken out of context). And now the previously announced Mandela biopic is also very much alive, and may even get a multiple Oscar-winner as its director. According to Variety, Clint Eastwood is interested in helming The Human Factor, an adaptation of the same-titled book by John Carlin (with subtitle: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Changed the World). The film won't actually be a full biopic, though; instead, it focuses on the former President of South Africa post-imprisonment, on the eve of apartheid's end. It also deals with the 1995 Rugby World Cup and how it aided in the post-apartheid healing of South Africa. The adaptation has been scripted by South African screenwriter Anthony Peckham (Don't Say a Word).

We've already learned that Mandela will be portrayed by Morgan Freeman (perfect choice), who will also be producing with his company Revelations Entertainment (10 Items or Less). Now possibly joining Freeman on screen is Matt Damon, who is in talks to play the captain of rugby team the Springboks. Although both Freeman and Damon contributed to the 3D IMAX documentary Magnificent Desolation, the two have never acted together. Freeman and Eastwood, though, have collaborated a few times, and it was due to working with the actor-director on Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby that Freeman reportedly requested Eastwood's filmmaking talents for this project. My guess is that Eastwood appreciates the opportunity, as it sounds like something that will garner him yet another Oscar nomination. However, it won't be the director's next film; that has already been announced as The Changeling, with Angelina Jolie.

For those looking for a Mandela movie in the meantime, perhaps someone will finally pick up U.S. distribution rights to Bille August's new film, Goodbye Bafana, which features Dennis Haysbert as the iconic prisoner-turned-leader. Erik caught the pic in Berlin earlier this year and called it, "a perfect movie -- one that gets it all right," and it is very surprising that there's no plans yet to release the film here. Perhaps someone is waiting until they can pit it against The Human Factor, in order to fulfill the new Hollywood law that all biopics must have a dueling competitor.
CATEGORIES Casting, Cinematical