Jennifer Hudson takes on title role in 'Winnie'

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ATLANTA -- Jennifer Hudson's title role in the movie "Winnie Mandela," coming out in limited release Friday, will show the talented Ms. Hudson in a brand-new light.

"I feel like I understand her," Ms. Hudson said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I thought, they've got the right person to play this role."

Directed by Darrell J. Roodt and written by Mr. Roodt and Andre Pieterse, the movie takes a comprehensive look at the sometimes controversial life of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Terrence Howard plays Nelson Mandela. But the movie, adapted from Anne Marie du Preez Bezrob's biography, "Winnie Mandela: A Life," is Winnie's story.

"It was not easy," Ms. Hudson said. "I was like, wow. This is intimidating. It's a huge chunk of history that a lot of us don't know about."

Although Winnie Mandela became the face of South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle during the nearly three decades that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, their 38-year marriage fell apart not long after he was released. Her image as a brave freedom fighter suffered from her alliance with the Mandela United Football Club, her private security force.

Today, Ms. Madikizela-Mandela, 76, serves on the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress. She has been critical of the movie, saying she was not consulted. In 2011 she told CNN, "I have absolutely nothing against Jennifer, but I have everything against the movie itself."

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