Morgan Freeman felt destined to play Nelson Mandela.

The 72-year-old Hollywood actor – who plays the legendary politician in ‘Invictus’, a movie based on events which unfolded in South Africa during the 1995 Rugby World Cup – was told by the former President to play him in a film if the opportunity ever arose.

Pic: Nelson Mandela is immortalised on screen by Freeman in Invictus.
Pic: Nelson Mandela is immortalised on screen by Freeman in Invictus.

He told Parade.com: “He told me he wanted me to play him in a movie someday. I said, ‘Then I need access to you, and I need to be able to hold your hand.’ And he said, ‘We’ll do that.’

“So anytime we were anywhere in proximity after that, we’d shmooze. I’ve always been preparing for the time I stepped in front of the camera as him.

“I was sort of the chosen one, as it were. I expected that eventually I would play him.”

Morgan – who first met the South African in the early 1990s – said the only thing he struggled with was learning his accent.

He said: “That was the most challenging part of the whole role… it would have to be that.”

Clint Eastwood, who directed ‘Invictus’, admitted Morgan’s portrayal of the legendary figure was so uncanny he became confused over who was acting as who when he met him.

He explained to Black Star News: “When you meet Mandela, you think, ‘Oh, he’s doing Morgan Freeman,’ Morgan has all his gestures and his throat-clearing.”