Morgan Freeman is to play former South African President Nelson Mandela in a new film called 'The Human Factor'.

Variety reports that the film is based on the upcoming John Carlin book 'The Human Factor: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed the World'.

The story takes place during the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa when Mandela was in his first term as President and tells of how he used the event to break down racial barriers.

Freeman, who will produce the film, travelled to South Africa earlier this year to discuss the project with Mandela.

The actor said: "I have known Nelson Mandela personally for quite some time, and am continually in awe of his enormous presence in the world. The opportunity to portray him in this film is a great honour."