A movie about how the 1995 Rugby World Cup helped heal post-apartheid race relations in South Africa is fast becoming a major film event.
Morgan Freeman had already signed on to play Nelson Mandela in “The Human Factor,” an adaptation of the John Carlin book “The Human Factor: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Changed the World.” Now, Warner Bros. is in talks to finance the picture, with Clint Eastwood eyeing it as a directing vehicle, and Matt Damon in preliminary talks to play the captain of the Springboks.
Freeman and Revelations partner Lori McCreary are producing with Mace Neufeld, and South African scribe Anthony Peckham (“Don’t Say A Word”) wrote the script.
Freeman, who stars with Jack Nicholson in the upcoming Rob Reiner-directed WB film “The Bucket List,” went to South Africa with McCreary last spring to get Mandela’s blessing on the project.
Story is set right after the fall of apartheid, and after Mandela was released from a long imprisonment and became South African president. Mandela recognized the significance when South Africa was selected host of the 1995 Rugby World Cup after the team had been barred from even competing since the 1980s because of apartheid.
Eastwood was brought onto the project by Freeman, who starred in the Eastwood-directed “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby.”
Eastwood next directs Angelina Jolie in “The Changeling,” a Universal co-production between his Malpaso and Imagine Entertainment.