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Blog Wed Feb 03 2010
Jennifer Hudson's meteoric rise from Chicago's South side to Hollywood really is the stuff dreams are made of. From her days as a contestant on "American Idol" to her Academy Award-winning turn in 2006 in Dreamgirls, Hudson has continued on the road to a burgeoning career in movies.
But even rising starlets have to hit a bump in the road; for Hudson, the "bump" comes via Winnie Mandela, ex-wife of former South African president, Nelson Mandela.
It seems Mandela is extremely displeased with South African filmmaker Darrell Roodt's choice of Hudson to play her in the biopic, Winnie, which will be in theatres in 2011. According to several sites, Mandela is upset that she was neither consulted about the film nor the actress that would play her. In addition, according to Times Online, the Creative Workers Union of South Africa is concerned about "using foreign actors" and "bringing in imports" to play South African roles.
Jennifer Hudson wouldn't be the first American born performer to play an African character: Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle were both nominated for Academy Awards for their roles in Cry Freedom and Hotel Rwanda, respectively, and just this week, ironically, Morgan Freeman was honored with an Oscar nomination for his role as Nelson Mandela in Invictus.
Now this isn't to say that Hudson's acting chops are anywhere near the level of the aforementioned, but the fact is, she was cast in the movie because someone saw something in her and felt that she had what it took to portray Mandela.
I wish J-Hud all the best, especially since Mandela is a very complex figure; consequently, she will need to bring her "A" game. Whatever she does though, I hope she perfects the African accent as best she can--that alone should make all the difference in the world.