Eastwood’s Mandela Feature Gets Titled ‘Invictus’


For so long people have referred to Clint Eastwood’s upcoming film as The Human Factor since it was first announced as an adaptation of John Carlin’s book “Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation” as adapted by Anthony Peckham. Well, that title never stuck and for quite some time it has simply been referred to as the Untitled Clint Eastwood Nelson Mandela Project, but not any longer.

Kris Tapley at In Contention, through a series of check/double-check, has revealed the title to be Invictus, which means “Invincible” in Latin and was the title of a short poem written by William Earnest Henley and published in 1875. Apparently the connection to Mandela is that the Henley piece served as inspiration to the freedom fighter. Tapley even went so far as to uncover a quote from a Reader’s Digest interview in which Mandela references the poem:

Reader’s Digest: When you were in prison all those long years on Robben Island and elsewhere, was there something that came back to you, something you had either in your mind, a message or passage from a book, a song, something that helped sustain you and keep up your spirits?

Mandela: There was a poem by an English poet, W.E. Henley, called “Invictus.” The last lines go: “It matters not how straight the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

Tapley has even more on the poem right here.

As for the newly titled Invictus, it is sure to be an awards contender once it is released in December with what I will assume to be a traditional slow roll-out followed by a larger release in 2010.

The film stars Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and tells the story of how he joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa’s underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match.

Matt Damon plays Francois Pienaar, the rugby captain.

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Weekend: Nov. 14, 2019, Nov. 17, 2019

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