Last Sunday London welcomed Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon for Invictus's European Press Conference. Check it out!
Clint Eastwood your at an age where most of us would be taking it a bit easier, yet you continue making challenging movies one after an other, you make some of the best movies we will see in any year, what is the driving force behind you? Why do you continue to work so much and so well?
Clint Eastwood: I sort of planned not working at this particular time in life, but nobody can plan on what they're gonna do at my age of 49 (laughs). I just feel like I'm enjoying my work more now than I ever have, or just as much certainly. I'm at an age that I can take up more challenges than I have in the past because I know more and of course at this age you can forget more, but I'm trying to avoid that. I just enjoy it, I enjoy the process, being behind the camera, I enjoy that equally as much as being in front of the camera. I've been lucky enough to work in a profession that I've really liked, so I figured I'll continue until someone hits me over the head and says get out (Laughs).
Matt you've always looked pretty handy when your fighting in your other films, how does that compare to Rugby?
Matt Damon: Any time your making a movie, it's all choreography, except for this game, it's a lot tougher to choreograph, it's a lot more uncontrolled. A lot of the stuff we shot was what we called free play, just letting these guys go and nail each other and capture that. There was a whole physical challenge to get ready for the roll because I was playing a very famous man who everybody knows. It's like any job though, it's like a magic trick, ultimately your only job in a film is for the audience to believe, if they don't for even a second you've failed because your taking them out of the story. You have to troubleshoot a year for the movie and think what will get me in trouble here and what do I have to solve, so Clint helped me out, Francois is a BIG guy and I'm an average sized guy, I thought people know what I look like and people know what he looked like how are we gonna get around this. Clint said maybe we can't make you look 6'4 but we could make you look taller than 5'10, maybe we can make people not ask the question, so we used little tricks with the camera to make me look larger, shooting me higher, an insole in my shoe to give me an extra inch or so in height. Little things like that, then obviously a lot of work in the gym and working on the accent to make it believable.
From a filmakers point of view what were the challenges of filming a Rugby match compared to a dramatic scene?
Clint Eastwood: I didn't grow up with Rugby, but I went and saw a lot matches, talked to a lot of people who have played, I talked to the coach at the Univercity Of California, a Rugby player by the name of Jack Clarke who gave a whole run down of the game, then I watched his practises and everything he did there. Then when we got to South Africa we got Chester, Francois and various people who had been in the game to go over it, so after talking to people I started to get a feel of the game and we hired Rugby players to play the parts, with the exception of Matt and one or two others, but they all came up to the game real fast so we just had them play. Chester was our coach, he would just tell the players to go out there and play Rugby, so they would be hitting real hard, our biggest challenge was to stay out of the way (laughs). So we did, our camera crew are used to working on the fly and that's the way we approached it.
You've said Gran Torino will be your last time in front of the camera, do you still feel that way?
Clint Eastwood: I said that when we made Million Dollar Baby as well, the film was a success so I thought this will be a good time to quit on top, unlike most people who sort of drift down to the end, or like a prize fighter who fights one two many fights. But then Gran Torino came along, it was an interesting part, it was a man my age, I figured I wasn't stretching that much so I decided on giving it another shot, I still say that, I might do ten roles, if ten great roles come up, but I don't know how many great roles there are for a man of my age, 38 (laughs). You just don't know, I had always planned when I starting directing in 1970 that after a few years I'd get tired of looking at myself on the screen but I continued on, every so often something pops up, I'm not saying it will never happen again, but the odds get less as you get older, when you set yourself in roles that fit your age group.
Has Nelson Mandela seen the film and what was his reaction? Also did you consult with him while creating the film?
Morgan Freeman: Yeah he's seen it, he smiled a lot and nodded (laughs). When I first came onn screen he leaned over to me and said I know this fellow (laughs). I got the impression he wasn't embarrassed. I didn't consult with him before, I just consulted tapes, films on him, things like that. I didn't go to him and say what do you feel about this or that because he's 90 years old.
What was the most challenging thing about playing Mandela?
Morgan Freeman: The most challenging was the voice, the accent if you will. Everything else was easy, I've been watching him for years. Once I got the notion that one of these days I'd be playing him on screen it just became a thing of paying attention to him every chance I got. Whenever I was in his company, or when I saw him on screen I just watched him like one of these days I'm gonna have to do that