Backlash Against Jennifer Hudson’s Casting as Winnie Mandela

Backlash Against Jennifer Hudson’s Casting as Winnie Mandela

BV: With Morgan Freeman receiving high marks as former South African president Nelson Mandela in ‘Invictus,’ which opens today, many are not pleased with the recent casting of another Oscar winner, Jennifer Hudson, who will play Nelson’s wife, Winnie Mandela, in a biopic called ”Winnie.’

According to reports, the Creative Workers Union of South Africa said using foreign actors to tell the country’s stories undermined efforts to develop the national film industry.

“This decision must be reversed, it must be stopped now,” union Secretary General Oupa Lebogo said in ‘The Times.’ “If the matter doesn’t come up for discussion, we will push for a moratorium to be placed on the film.”

“It can’t happen that we want to develop our own Hollywood and yet bring in imports,” the union’s leader Mabutho Sithole told ‘The Citizen’ newspaper.

The film will be directed by South African film-maker Darrell J. Roodt, whose films include ‘Cry, The Beloved Country’ and ‘Sarafina.’ Interesting enough, African American actors James Earl Jones and Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg were the stars of the those films respectively.

While some may argue that Hudson still needs more films under her belt to be taken seriously in the business and that she won the Oscar on the strength of her singing, the Chicago native has done impressive work in independent films that may not have been seen by many.

Earlier this year, she played opposite Forest Whitaker in ‘Winged Creatures,’ and last year starred opposite Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah in ‘The Secret Life of Bees.’ On the music scene, she won the 2009 Grammy for R&B Album of the Year.

castmate Sophie Okonedo landed the role of Mandela for a BBC telefilm titled ‘Mrs. Mandela.’ That film was shot on location in and around Soweto, and focuses on the development of the relationship between Winnie and her husband from their brief courtship in the 1950s to the aftermath of his release from prison in 1990.

Meanwhile, there were no complaints when British actress and another ‘Bees

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