Stars turn out for bow of Eastwood's latest

Thursday’s glitzy premiere for Warner Bros.’ “Invictus” at the Academy elicited an amazed reaction from screenwriter Tony Peckham.

“I always hated rugby because I was the smallest guy and always got clobbered growing up in Durban,” he admitted. “It’s stunning for me to be here now, having wound up writing a movie for Clint Eastwood about it.”

At the post-preem bash at the Beverly Wilshire, Morgan Freeman and producing partner Lori McCreary said they were most pleased over the reaction of Nelson Mandela‘s daughter Zindzi to the film at the screening. They’re planning to journey this week to South Africa for a trio of premieres plus a private screening for Mandela.

“I think we’ll be all right when we show it to him,” Freeman said.

McCreary noted that she’d first met Mandela in 1993 while working on the anti-apartheid film “Bopha.” “It’s been my goal ever since to make this film,” she added.

Producer Mace Neufeld mused that “Invictus” was the first time he’d worked with Eastwood, adding, “It only took me until I was 81.” Event, a benefit for the American Film Institute, also saw Eastwood’s spouse Dina intro a performance by South African octet The Overtones, who perform in the pic. “I discovered them,” she added.

Attendees included Freeman’s co-star Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom; studio execs Barry Meyer, Alan Horn, Sue Kroll and Veronika Kwan-Rubinek; and Francois Pienaar, the captain of the South African rugby team portrayed in the film.

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