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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 June 2007, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Actor Freeman gets Mandela role
Morgan Freeman and Nelson Mandela
Freeman travelled to South Africa to meet Mr Mandela last year
Actor Morgan Freeman is to play former South African president Nelson Mandela in forthcoming film The Human Factor.

The 70-year-old actor will co-produce the film, which is based on John Carlin's book of the same name.

It is set during the 1995 Rugby World Cup, when Mr Mandela used the country's hosting of the tournament to help heal divisions between blacks and whites.

Oscar-winner Freeman said it would be a "great honour" to play Mr Mandela, 88, who left office in 1999.

Freeman travelled to South Africa last year to discuss the project with the former president.

"I have known Nelson Mandela personally for quite some time, and am continually in awe of his enormous presence in the world," Freeman - who won a best supporting actor Oscar for Million Dollar Baby in 2005 - said.

The film is being made by Freeman's production company, Revelations Entertainment, with a script by South African writer Anthony Peckham.

In 2003, Freeman was named as lead actor in a film version of the statesman's autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom. But this project, announced by Indian-born director Shekhar Kapur, has yet to come to fruition.

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