Jennifer Hudson arrived in Cannes on Saturday to reveal the details of her latest film, a Winnie Mandela biopic.
The project has already caused a fair bit of controversy. When it was announced Mrs Madikizela- Mandela’s lawyers threatened action aganst the proposed film because of fear of character assaination.
The film which stars Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela and is directed by South African director Darrell Roodt, is being touted as ‘the ultimate women’s movie’.
The director had the following to say about the film: “When we think of the liberation of South Africa, we completely associate it with Nelson Mandela and what he did was extraordinary, of course – but what she did was equally as extraordinary, if not more.
“Yes, he spent a long period of time in jail but she kept the struggle alive when he was in jail and she was in the firing line. Here was this woman who had just married this man, and they were madly in love, and the next thing she was fighting to free him and the country It’s an extraordinary story about how a woman did this against all odds.
“If it wasn’t for Winnie Mandela, South Africa would have been a vastly different place. It might have ended in ruin and chaos. It is, for me, the great untold story about South Africa. It’s the ultimate women’s movie.”
The controversy has come about because despite the director saying such positive things, Winnie is a woman who once said “with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country” – a reference to the method of killing suspected informers in the townships by setting fire to petrol-filled tires placed around their necks.
She was also convicted of kidnapping a 14-year-old boy who was later found beaten to death. And on top of all that she was convicted of more than 40 charges of fraud.
Speaking at the festival Hudson said “I am so excited and so honoured and can’t wait to get started. We start in the next week and I’m ready to go to Africa for the first time. There’s definitely a story that’s worth being told, and I’m still shocked that I get to be a part of this and I get to portray this role. It’s just such an honour.”
Hudson, who has had a fair amount of up and downs in her own life, won an Oscar for her role in Dream Girls and also appeared in the popular Sex and the City movie.
So everyone seems excited about the project apart from Mrs Madikizela- Mandela herself. This could be interesting…