Film: Rushes

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The Independent Culture
FOR YEARS, in films such as Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Seven, Morgan Freeman has made a living playing the soft- spoken, mature, moral authority figure.

Now, it looks like the typecasting may have paid off. Freeman is to play Nelson Mandela in a forthcoming biopic.

Anant Singh, a veteran anti-apartheid film-maker, announced his intention to base a film on the South African President's 1994 autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, at this year's Cannes Film Festival. The $23m (pounds 13m) film will trace Mandela's rise from his earliest days as a cow-herd, but the producer had to abandon his idea to cast one actor to portray Mandela throughout. Instead, three actors will play Mandela through childhood, adolescence and his twenties and thirties, at which point Freeman will take over.

In January, the director of Elizabeth, Shekhar Kapur, will begin filming what will be the most expensive film undertaken on the African continent since Lawrence of Arabia.

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SLY STALLONE'S performance as a good-natured but not-too-bright sheriff in Copland, widely perceived as a change of direction for the ageing action star, may just have been a diversion. Variety reports that Stallone's next starring role will find him back on more familiar territory.

In Fatalis, Stallone is likely to play an academic whose proficiency in the arts of ancient weaponry is put to the test when a group of sabre- toothed tigers, brought back to life by El Nino (natch), threatens Los Angeles.

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