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Video:Francois Pienaar and Anthony Peckham Invictus Interviews

with Rebecca Murray

Francois Pienaar, captain of the '95 South African rugby team, joined Matt Damon-the actor who plays him in the movie-on the red carpet at the 'Invictus' premiere in LA. Also out to chat up the movie was South African screenwriter Anthony Peckham.See Transcript

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Transcript:Francois Pienaar and Anthony Peckham Invictus Interviews

Rebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the LA Premiere of Warner Bros Pictures' Invictus.

Francois Pienaar – Captain of the '95 Springbok Rugby Team

I don't know rugby but this film really introduced it to me. The only thing I didn't understand was when can you kick the ball? It seems like you can do that any time you want.

Francois Pienaar: "You can do that any time. Normally you'll kick the ball to either relieve pressure or to try and… I'm sorry about that. It's the first time that somebody touched my butt and it's a man. I thought it might be a beautiful girl. It's to relieve pressure or to gain an advantage. Usually when you kick the ball you try to do it in such a fashion that you would regain possession. Because the game of rugby is about possession of the ball and getting the ball over the tryline to score points. There's a lot of skill in kicking; it's just not hoofing it. These guys spend hours and hours of time. And in this movie, the reason why we won the World Cup is because we had such a gifted guy in the number 10 jersey that when the opportunity came, he took that opportunity and he dropped a goal that made us famous. That's why we won. If it wasn't for him, we would not have been here."

What was it like meeting Mandela the very first time?

Francois Pienaar: "I got a phone call to say that the President wants to meet you. And I said, 'Why?' And they said, 'He just wants to meet you.' So I sat at the Union Buildings in Pretoria in 1994, and my palms were so sweaty. I didn't know what he was going to ask me or what I was going to say. And he just put me at ease at first. When the door opened, he came out and, 'Ahhh, Francois,' and he spoke to me in Afrikaan, which is my native tongue. Immediately I was so comfortable. It was just like sitting there sharing moments with a wise, very wise man."

How close does this film get it?

Francois Pienaar: "Well I'm going to see it tonight for the first time. I can't wait."

They should have shown it to you first to make sure it was right. Did you ever imagine Matt Damon would be playing you in a film?

Francois Pienaar: "No, it's unreal."

He's not as big as you are though.

Francois Pienaar: "I don't think it's about that. It's about the attitude and what it represented for South Africa."

Invictus Screenwriter Anthony Peckham

You are actually from South Africa so how closely does this represent the attitudes?

Anthony Peckham: "Of the time – not now – but we tried to do it as closely as possible. Yes."

Was this a tough subject for you to write about, being that you knew that?

Anthony Peckham: "No. It was very liberating. It was wonderful to write about, personally and as a South African and an American. It was wonderful to write about."

Did you find yourself injecting your own memories into it?

Anthony Peckham: "Absolutely, of course."

Were you free to do that?

Anthony Peckham: "No, within reason and only on a small scale. I had to deal with what was happening, what happened in history, right? I added characters."

What's interesting to me is that it's such an important tale and yet we didn't know about it.

Anthony Peckham: "I know."


Anthony Peckham: "Well I was living here. I didn't know about it either. I mean I knew it happened but I didn't know the details of it. And then I found out about it and it seemed like a story that really needed to be told."

Did you get to do much with Mandela himself?

Anthony Peckham: "No."

Is that something you wanted to do or did you feel it was really not necessary?

Anthony Peckham: "I would have loved to have, but it was difficult. And as it turned out, I didn't need to. I hope he enjoys it."

Are you also going to do Deep Sea Cowboys?

Anthony Peckham: "Yes."

How far are you on that?

Anthony Peckham: "I haven't started it yet. No."

When are you going to start that?

Anthony Peckham: "In a little bit. I'm finishing something else right now."

Can you say what you're finishing?

Anthony Peckham: "Yeah, it's called The Limit for Tobey Maguire."

How's that going?

Anthony Peckham: "It's going very well."

Can you say anything about the tone of it or what you guys are doing?

Anthony Peckham: "It's another period piece – very recent. It's about the 1961 Formula One season, which Phil Hill – a Santa Monica resident – won. So it's got that same mixture of drama and sports action that Invictus has."

And Tobey Maguire will be playing Phil Hill?

Anthony Peckham: "Yes. And if you go look at a picture of Phil Hill and a picture of Tobey side by side, you'll be blown away."

Can he handle the actual action on the track?

Anthony Peckham: "He's a very good athlete, and the drivers are fantastic athletes."

What is it about those type of stories that gets you?

Anthony Peckham: "I love the mixture of drama and action. So whenever things get boring, I get to have a rugby match or a Formula One race."

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