11/30/09 I spent Monday evening at a reception and premiere for the new Clint Eastwood directed movie “Invictus” at the National Geographic HQ. The movie tells the true story of how a newly elected President Nelson Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman) used the 1995 World Rugby Championship to help unite post-apartheid South Africa.
Following the screening, there was a Q&A with Chris Matthews and Morgan Freeman.
I have to say I like Morgan Freeman a lot. He’s probably one of my favorite actors. He still has not seen the finished production yet as he is uncomfortable seeing himself on film. He was funny and relaxed batting away pretentious questions like: What are your hopes for young people looking at this movie to learn 4 or ten years from now? Freeman: None. The only hope I have for a movie is that it makes money. I’m not like one of those artists who stands in front of his painting and says See that cloud? it’s really a tree. It’s up to the audience to take what they want from the movie. Somebody else asked: How long did it take for you to get Mandela’s speech pattern and mannerisms down? Freeman: All day.
On a side-note, while I was waiting for the audience to fill the auditorium, I chatted with a security guard and as we talked she pulled out a infrared night-vision scope from a case. She’d been hired by Warner Bros. to stop film piracy. Once the movie started, she walked up and down the aisles with her scope to her eye peering at the crowd to make sure no one was recording the movie with cell phones or video cameras. She told me that at a recent showing of the new Twilight movie, she confiscated 17 cell phones [All from girls. They got them back at the end of the movie.] and that the studio had guards sitting in the projection booths since they caught a 16 year old girl trying to make off with the 35 mm print of the film at a theater. Crazy.
The title of the film is taken from this poem which inspired Mandela while he was in captivity. He passes it on to the captain of the South African rugby team for inspiration. . .
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley