HomeEastwood's “Invictus” Score Features Johannesburg Group Overtone

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WHEN CLINT Eastwood’s new movie, “Invictus,” opens Dec. 11, audiences will undoubtedly be inspired by the film’s dramatic and timely tale of racial reconciliation.

And with Eastwood bringing his deft directorial touch to a superstar cast that includes Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, they’ll also be seeing a movie that’s bound to be an Oscar contender.

But as the story of South African President Nelson Mandela and his country’s all-white rugby team — filmed last spring by Eastwood in the country where it happened — unfolds, audiences will also be hearing the movie’s uplifting score, featuring a heretofore unknown a capella singing group from Johannesburg. The group, Overtone, owes its role in the movie, and the possibility of pop stardom, to a bit of incredible luck, and the generosity of Clint Eastwood’s wife, Dina.

“Back in March, we were in Capetown on a two-week engagement, performing our Queen cover show,” said Emile Welman, one of Overtone’s tenors. But the 75-seat-supper-club gig wasn’t exactly the big time, and for all their ambition and talent, the singers had no inkling their careers were about to make a tremendous leap.

“Of course, we’d seen in the newspapers that Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon were in town shooting a film, and on the way to Capetown, we were joking around that maybe we’d meet them,” said Ruan Van Zyl, Overtone’s baritone.

“One day, we saw a film crew on the street outside the theater, and the guys told me, ‘There’s Matt Damon!’” Welman laughed. “But it was just a cereal commercial.”

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