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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Matt Dawson meets Matt Damon and Francois Pienaar

Matt Dawson meets Matt Damon and Francois Pienaar

The highest profile rugby movie ever made, Invictus, premiered in the UK recently following releases in the US and the country the movie is about, South Africa. England's World Cup winner in 2003, Matt Dawson, sat down to chat to actor Matt Damon, and the man Damon played in the movie, Francois Pienaar.

The movie follows the 1995 Springbok rugby team as they, along with the help of newly elected president Nelson Mandela, set out to bring a racially and economically divided country together by winning the Rugby World Cup at the first attempt.

Damon played the part of Pienaar, who in reality is far taller and bigger than the actor. Damon put a great deal of pressure on himself to do the role justice, spending many hours in the gym and taking time to perfect Pienaar's South African accent.

"The accent took about six months. It took a lot to get it. They talk real different down there," he said. "It's a big responsibility. It didn't help that I liked Francois so much. I really wanted him to like the film."

When comparing the fitness regimes for Invictus to the Bourne Identity movies, he says this was far tougher than the other physical roles he's played.

"I was in better shape with this movie. Francois came to the gym with me a couple of times. This is his life. I dont want to embarrass him. If Jason Bourne looks a little flabby, thats on me! I wasnt going to be for any lack of effort - which actually is what the team is famous for.

"They are known for going the extra mile. Knowing themselves, to say that we might not be the most talented team and the line is even in the movie, the coach says, We may not be the best team, but we will be the fittest. Francois told me their training regiment. Its unreal what those guys went through."

While reviews of the movie have been mixed, it's fair to say that Director Clint Eastwood wasn't out to change the face of movie making. What he did though, is create a biopic of a great moment in South African history, as black and white stood together to support one team, with a common goal in mind.

Damon and Morgan Freeman, who played Mandela, have both been nominated for Oscar awards for their roles in playing two of the most influential men in the country's history.

"It's such an incredible moment in South Africa's history. I think everybody felt it who worked on the movie. It was different to other movies," the actor added.

Matt Dawson had a chat to Pienaar and Damon to hear their thoughts and feelings surrounding the film, and finds out if Pienaar felt it was a worthy portrayal of events as he remembers them.

If you've seen the movie already, what were your thoughts on it?


Time: 8:04 & 2:52
Credit: BBC

Posted at 9:09 am | 35 comments

Viewing 35 comments

FrankyH February 09, 2010 9:58 am

Hard to believe Damon is 39. He did a pretty good job then, considering.

I enjoyed it, but I don't think either of them will win an Oscar.

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 10:20 am

Clint Eastwood, great actor, boring director.

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The Inside Shoulder February 09, 2010 10:21 am

I was really disappointed with invictus.

Some of the "South African" accents are terrible and the rugby scenes look like a bunch of pub players.

World Cup Final is an absolute joke, the referee is a mute and on the rare occasion he does speak he gives a completely wooden performance. Furthermore it comes across like there's only one reason to give a penalty.

Favourite line in the film - Francois Pienaar's South Africa are losing come half time so during the team talk he comes up with this line of inspiration.

"Forwards, in the second half we must scrum!!"

My advice - wait till DVD.

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 10:23 am

It's a polical correctness movie not a sports movie.

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 10:59 am

regardless of whether its a political correctness film or a sports film, its way below par, waste of a good story there.

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Greiffel February 09, 2010 11:23 am

I think from a selfish point of view, all South Africans will really enjoy it. After all, it documents a truly amazing period in the country's history.

In terms of a movie for all to enjoy, yeah, it probably lacks a little oomph and is a bit slow at times.

One thing is does do is show the rest of the world that 1995 wasn't just about winning a trophy, it was so much more. Many may not have realised that until seeing the movie.

I see the WC in June as doing a similar thing for SA, albeit on a far less successful scale.

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The Inside Shoulder February 09, 2010 1:06 pm

"It's a polical correctness movie not a sports movie" -- Regardless, with such a massive budget that's not an excuse to get the rugby scenes, of which there are many, so badly wrong.

Let's put it this way. It's not going to win over any NFL fans to rugby.

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 1:47 pm

Why matt Damon??? It's so obvious he's tiny in the film! It's like midget rugby!!!

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 1:56 pm

Hollywood should do a movie about life in South Africa today. Probably have a higher body count than all the Rambo's put together.

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Cpt. Crunch :) February 09, 2010 2:02 pm

Love all this publicity the mighty Springboks are getting. I bet the other rugby playing nations, like England and New Zealand are REALLY jealous. :)

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 2:13 pm

I've seen the film, it's very accurate and the cinematography is superb. I don't believe there's a gay pride film in contention this year (no Milk, no Broke my back Mountain etc), so it could win an Oscar.

It'll be rather embarrassing if that laughably bad Avatar wins.

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BODisgod February 09, 2010 2:14 pm

Have to agree with The Inside Shoulder it was quite disapoointing in the end probably because I had built up in my head too much!
But in fairness Eastwood was making the film for the yanks who would have enjoyed it more than likely as they love those sort of inspirational sports films, regardless of how shocking the rugby scenes were.

The acting was surprisingly good actually, thought they would ruin the SA accent but damon especially seemed to be on the button

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 2:52 pm

The movie was pretty bad. It's not as good Eastwoods other movies, but maybe thats because the content matter is so familiar. But there are worse rugby movies out there by the looks of it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3C2HvQ8KFE

(I haven't seen this, but really???)

View Video

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 5:05 pm

any mention of food poisoning in the movie i bet not quickly sweep it under the carpet with all the other dirt

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Shaft February 09, 2010 6:41 pm

^ no mention of the choking either. ;)

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What the John Dory February 09, 2010 7:12 pm

Good acting...........Great story, the scenes looked good, but the movie fell short. It didn't draw you in.

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c spencer February 09, 2010 9:10 pm

Shaft said...
^ no mention of the choking either. ;)

cant wait till they choke in there own back yard

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 9:49 pm

I enjoyed the movie, haka in the final was very week... a good rugby film although about a us highschool team is "foreverstrong"
greatest line ever:
kid explaining rules of rugby. other guy chirps... o so its like foot ball and soccer?
" no, its like rugby"
bob

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 9:55 pm

anyone who says the story's weak is just a chump, it's not even made up!! Everyone is a critic these days! Stick with your day jobs critics, you suck at it.lol

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Anonymous February 09, 2010 10:14 pm

^ very insightful mate.

Weak story.

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Anonymous February 10, 2010 12:06 am

lol!! Clint dropped a few clangers in this one... i saw a brand new land rover and a BMW 5 series and hearing Matt Damon say we must scrum is just ridiculous....

ermmmm for one of the biggest budget rugby films i was extremely diappointed i didnt feel one bit excited by the actual rugby and the plot was tedious and slow.

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Anonymous February 10, 2010 12:45 am

Made up food poisoning wasn't mentioned because Invictus isn't a New Zealand propaganda film.

Have a good one.

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Anonymous February 10, 2010 8:38 am

Matt Damon looks a cross between Juan Smith and BOD.

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Hendrick February 10, 2010 9:13 am

This movie wasn't so much about rugby, as it was about the black, and white issues in SA. There is very little rugby in the film at all except the ending.(and that was laughable)

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Maximus February 10, 2010 5:04 pm

Just seen the "Forever Strong" trailer and THAT seems to be a bad film about rugby. Cristiano Ronaldo (famous Portuguese football player for those who don't know, can't blame you but in Europe there's no way you can dodge this sort of information) playing hooker for a NZ team. Straight award for Invictus in comparison.
And yeah, Invictus is not really a game about rugby, more about its values.

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Anonymous February 10, 2010 6:00 pm

awesome movie a great advertistment for south africa not rugby

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Anonymous February 10, 2010 6:13 pm

OMG i just saw the forever strong trailer help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Simon says February 10, 2010 6:35 pm

The rugby wasn't all that convincing. The drop-outs in particular were feeble -- on at least two of them the ball was fielded inside the 10-metre line. But, as some posters here have said, the focus of the film was the nation healing, and it just happened to do it through rugby. The opening sequence was very strong, but there were also some pretty blatant manipulations of the audience, e.g., the scary white van driving up to attack Mandela, oops, no don't worry it's only delivering newspapers

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Anonymous February 10, 2010 10:34 pm

It was an ok film, not great, but entertaining.
The rugby scenes were filmed well, but the rugby itself was obviously portrayed by amateurs.
And if all you knew about rugby was what you saw in this film, you'd think that all they do is pass the ball once and get tackled, then have a scrum. There were about a thousands shots of scrums in the movie, but not one good backline move.

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Outsite Shoulder? February 10, 2010 10:45 pm

I thought the movie was actually pretty good, considering it wasn't supposed to play like a rugby match.

If you thought it was going to be primarily about a rugby tournament, then that's your fault for building it up in the wrong way. Yeah, because a "good backline move" really mattered to the storyline...good lord.


I would never go see a multi-hour-long movie about a rugby game. Just watch the game, if that's the case.

Maybe the opposite way to tell a story about some aspect of a sport would be "Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait", where all it showed was different angles of the same game. Believe me, that gets boring real fast, unlike a movie like Invictus.

Not the best movie by any means, but it was entertaining, at least.

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Melburn 5/8 February 11, 2010 1:41 am

Took way too long to get into the story. Seemed like there was no real direction..

yes, they hve to win the world cup to unite the country but there wasn't enough pull to make it believable.

Not enough racism (against blacks) and sincere acting (supporting parts) in the film to make obvious how racist SA was, and so make the reconciliation credible.

And lets face it, the rugby IS what the movie is all about. Bringing the nation together through the game. It lacked realism and intensity. Never would you see an NFL movie depicted with such weakness! Rugby is ferocious and on film, those actors looked unskilled and unco-ordinated. Especially Clint Eastwood's son (who plays Stransky). He looked like a retard attempting those field goals!

Over-use of slow motion was also frustrating. It softened the physicality of the sport.

All in all, not a movie to see if you expecting a high impact, uplifting sports movie. Its more of a slowly, un-climatic bore!

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rehanb February 11, 2010 2:47 am

how racist south africa really was? there was racism but by the way your speaking you make it seem like people were slaughtered as a sport. how soft?, all of the sudden everyone is an expert, like it was said above go watcha rugby game if you want to see rugby

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Anonymous February 11, 2010 4:48 am

Outisde shoulder, did I say a good backline move would help the plot?
I said the movie was entertaining, but not great.
Then I talked about the rugby in it, you know because this is a rugby forum, and the reason it's on this website is that the movie involves alot of rugby.
And for me, as someone who watches alot of rugby, the fact that the rugby scenes looked amateurish and didn't really reflect a game of rugby, took away from the movie. The same way if in Any Given Sunday, the plays had looked like they were being done by amateurs, it would have detracted from the movie.

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vinniechan February 12, 2010 4:13 pm

I watched the film having read the book and thought the script was just... totally watered down.
The books was tiled: Playing the enemy because it give an inspiring account on the work done behind the scene before Mandela was even released, and it all ended in the finale in the RWC. This aspect was totally ignored, and if you walk in without prior knowledge, u cud only get some hint about the situation from the small stuff

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vinniechan February 12, 2010 4:16 pm

and I think Clint made the best out of what he had. Morgan Freeman practically saved the film single handedly. The Oscar panel would be blind not give him the award.
Still, many people from my part of the world who don't have any knowledge in SA or rugby come out feeling inspired or uplifted after watching the film, at a time we are so pissed off about our government and all that. So I think maybe the film didn't live up to the high expectations, but still has it good parts.

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