The Oscar winner stars as a South African rugby player, opposite Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, in Clint Eastwood's Invictus (page 72)
Can you guarantee that Invictus will be the best rugby movie of the holiday season?
MD: I'm going to go out on a limb and declare that as holiday rugby movies go, Invictus reigns without peer.
Is this a rugby movie?
MD: I was having this conversation with Clint about Million Dollar Baby. He said that's not a boxing movie, it's a movie about a father and a daughter. This movie's about Mandela and the spirit of that man, and about this incredible country that made the decision not to devolve into civil war. It's a great story about what's possible for humanity.
What was more physically demanding: Invictus or the Bourne movies?
MD: I probably spent a little more time in the gym on this one because I had to put on weight. François [Pienaar], who I played, is huge. He's like a linebacker. My job is to not to take the audience out of the movie. If anybody's looking at the movie and going, He doesn't look like he should be on the field, then I've failed. Eating well and lifting weights, you can put on a lot of muscle.