Winnie Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s story will be brought to the big screen this prestige pic season in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, with a little help from director Justin Chadwick and star Idris Elba. But Mandela’s wife Winnie will get her own time in the spotlight next month with the unimaginatively titled Winnie Mandela.

Directed by Darrell Roodt, the biopic follows the South African politician from her rural upbringing, through her husband’s imprisonment and the scandal and controversy that dogged her in later years. Jennifer Hudson plays Winnie, while Terence Howard plays her Nelson.

If you’re wondering why it feels like this film came out of nowhere, it’s probably because it first hit TIFF two years ago before fading into obscurity. Now, as it finally prepares for a theatrical release, a full-length trailer has hit the web. Watch it after the jump.

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Elias Koteas has never been one of the more high-profile character actors out there, but he’s always one of my favorites. (Not because of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where he played Casey Jones, but for films like Crash and The Adjuster.) Directors like David Fincher and Martin Scorsese have started using Koteas, which has increased his profile, and now he’s cast in Winnie, the biopic about Winnie Mandela.

He joins Terrence Howard and Jennifer Hudson, who play Nelson and Winnie Mandela. Koteas will be De Vries, “an overzealous officer in the apartheid police stage who rises in power and becomes intent on stopping Winnie and the black anti-apartheid activists from gaining power.” So not a role that audiences will look kindly on, but a major role. I’ll take it. [THR]

After the break, Green Lantern gets a dad and Fred Ward and Jessica Chastain book new roles. Read More »

hudson_mandela

Jennifer Hudson made a splash on American Idol, then quickly went on to win an Oscar for her debut role in Dreamgirls, but we haven’t seen much of her onscreen since. Now she’s got a follow-up role to her big breakthrough: in Winnie, she’ll play Winnie Mandela, wife to South African president Nelson Mandela.

Directing is South African filmmaker Darrell J. Roodt, who was behind Yesterday and Sarafina! The script is from Roodt, Andre Pieterse and Paul L. Johnson, from the biography Winnie Mandela: A Life, by Anne Marie du Preez. Winnie Mandela fought apartheid alongside her husband, and was jailed for demanding his release, but she faced legitimate legal troubles down the road. Variety also reports that Hudson is expected to sing the theme for the film.

After the break, another Winnie movie, more for the Christina Aguilera film Burlesque, and Stephen Root bolsters two already solid casts. Read More »

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