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Trailer – “Winnie” (Jennifer Hudson & Terrence Howard As South African Royalty)

Well, look what we have here folks… it’s the trailer for Winnie, directed by Darrell James Roodt, starring Jennifer Hudson as the titular character, Winnie Mandela, and Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela.

The film is based on Marie du Preez Bezdrob’s book Winnie Mandela: A Life, which is a true biography, in that it covers her 73-year old life, from early childhood in the late 1930s, to her divorce from Nelson Mandela in the 1990s, and everything else between.

Since the project was initially announced, about a year ago, many struggled imagining what the completed film would look and sound like, especially with this cast; until now, all we’ve seen are a few stills, and thus haven’t really had much to go on, opting to take the old wait-and-see approach, hoping for the best.

Well, below we get our first good look at the film via an almost 4-minute-long trailer, and I’ve gotta say, oh boy, I’m afraid… I’m very afraid.

According to Variety, the filmmakers plan to debut the film in January, at the Sundance Film Festival.

Watch it below for yourselves:

36 comments to Trailer – “Winnie” (Jennifer Hudson & Terrence Howard As South African Royalty)

  • This doesn’t look promising. I can’t get past the miscasting.

  • sa_girl

    Horrible accents! This film is a sham. Why do American directors insist on taking out the heart in South African stories. Move on to another African country… or better yet, leave African stories alone all together.

    • Blutopaz

      Roodt sounds like an American name to you? He’s South African, with several South African hit films on his resume (Serafina and Cry, Beloved Country might ring a bell).

  • I’m interested. It actually looks better than I expected.

  • R.J.

    I don’t even know what to say. When I saw Jennifer Hudson in that horrible “old age” makeup I literally asked “Is this a joke?” But what really surprises me about this trailer is that Terrence Howard’s performance seems weaker than Hudson’s…am I the only one with that impression?

  • deebeezy

    people were afraid of Jennifer Hudson in the role of Winnie obviously they should have been afraid of Terrence Howard & his horrible accent and whoever was holding the make up brush

  • sosgemini

    OMG: The aging make-up. OMG. I can’t stop laughing. They turned her into a moldy prune. LMAO

  • Zeus

    The make-up dept should have been fired. It looks like they threw clay on their faces. Also, I’m not feeling Terrence or Jen in this. They should have gotten African actors to play these roles if not Chiwetel Ejiofor for Mandela.

  • NothingButAMan

    well, at least she looks fierce (besides that unfortunate aging makeup)…

  • Geneva Girl

    Was there no money left in the budget for accent coaches? Their accents were distracting. BTW, if the film is called Winnie, why did Terrence Howard have al of the lines in the trailer?

  • Looks very “made-for-TV” to me.

  • Also, the DP should’ve been fired as well. And the sound is quite awful. Sounds almost like a Nollywood film.

  • Darkan

    Who’s bright idea was it to cast these two in these roles. And the award for worst accent of the year goes to Terrence Howard for trying to do a Mandela accent but just sounding like Terrence Howard doing a horrible Mandela accent! Epic Fail!!!

  • ladybug

    Laughing really hard at the trailer and all the above comments. Oh baby wipes smh! That make-up is crazy! Not interested.

  • pinksghetti

    The accents weren’t too bad but the old age makeup was. I’m thinking they felt they had to get Americans to play the role because it might make people more likely to see the film. A lot of Americans don’t really go to see movies with foreign actors unless they are British or Australian and even then most of the time they are pretending to be American.

    • Blutopaz

      True-I don’t know why people are pretending the film should have been made for an American audience with African actors. And I’m sure they are going by Americans not knowing what a South African accent sounds like (Africa is a country to many Americans anyway)-i can’t explain the california raisins makeup though. I would prefer a great documentary but that’s just me

  • Patra Reynolds-Brown

    She looks like Effie from Dreamgirls. Same facial expressions. No emotion behind her eyes. It will be interesting to see how her acting holds up when there is no singing involved, which is where her real emotion comes thru. Secret Life of Bees was an ensemble that she didnt have to carry. Carrying a film on Winnie Mandela as her first lead role is ridiculous. She should fire her agents quick fast and in a hurry. Its too much for her. Who is going to pay $12/$13 to see this film in a theater? Too bad. If Sundance accepts this movie, I will officially write the festival off forever.

  • I have nothin’ but love and respect (and lust) for Jennifer Hudson (before and after Weight Watchers).

    I have nothin’ but love and respect for Terrance Howard.

    I love the fact that “Winnie” is a story finally being told on the big screen.

    BUT… these three elements don’t go together.

    I saw Winnie Madikizela-Mandela speak at the Million Women’s March in 1998 and met her briefly in 2007. There is an intensity to her personality AND her life story that Jennifer doesn’t yet have the acting chops to capture. Honestly, I can’t think of any African-American actresses who are the right age and have the look AND the chops to single-handedly capture Ms Madikizela-Mandela’s adult life. Some aspect of telling that story was going to suffer.

    On the real, I also see the genius in Darrll Roodt’s choices. I’d be willing to bet that it had nothing to do with available African talent. It’s all about quick money and recapturing international fame with this film. He knew that Jennifer Hudson and Terrance Howard are major box-office draws and Black America would go see them even in a mediocre film. Had he chosen to cast Leleti Khumalo (a brilliant South African talent) as Winnie Mandela, chances are this film wouldn’t have received much play outside of neo-grindhouse art theaters that feature favorites from Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals. Roodt also knew that the stories about Mandela, freedom fighters and other South African apartheid stories were worn out and dated. Winnie’s story is not only a fresh, largely unheard perspective, but even if he did a halfway decent job with the movie he knew it would make it into the “standard” rotations we all see during Kwanzaa and Black History Month.

    So what’s the scoop? “Winnie” isn’t going to be another “X”. It’s not going ignite sprawling discussions about Black Consciousness throughout the world. It’ll be an “aight” film that allowed the producers to make their money back and everybody involved have a decent payday. Like I said, genius. There’s something to be said about the best laid plans. ;-)

  • J Mac

    I don’t know. I say if you’re gonna do a movie, do it right. Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard shouldn’t be within 10,000 miles of this movie. At least not with those accents and that makeup. I don’t feel the least bit excited to see it and I doubt Sundance will give it a thumbs up.

    I would have preferred to see native actors if they weren’t going to invest the time to get the feel of the language and personalities right. Jill Scott did a remarkably good job with The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. This clip leaves you with the distinct feeling that they could have done much better.

    • Afrika girl

      No she did not! Jill Scott was an embarassing travesty and was just as horrible as the make-up and accents in this joke. No Jill Scott sucked rotten eggs in that Ladies Detective agency.

      • J Mac

        We’ll just have to agree to disagree. Heard her interview on TJMS when the series was about to air. The show hired the wrong dialect/language coach for her. Considering she had to relearn the right dialect in a short space of time, I’ll still give her props on that. She even went around Botswana to see how long she could fool people into thinking she was native. Got away with a few minutes but they were nice enough to help her out with the obvious mistakes. Her accident was still close enough to not sound like a complete joke unlike the actors in this film.

  • Heyheyhey

    It has that made-for-tv Roots feeling with that aging make up……Isn’t it 2010 lol

    • pinksghetti

      LOL, the makeup reminds me of Cicely Tyson in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman”. When I was a kid and they used to show people with old age makeup on tv I would literally feel queasy (I have a sensitive stomach).

  • Jo Henry

    First, even with these actors a good dialect coach with cred could have made a real difference but only if they’d had enough time for that work–and in the film apparatus as with the recording business…time is money. Ms. Scott did a very good job in the PBS piece(Love J.Scott!)

    If there is really a perponderance of two shots then yeah the film will have the look of a made for television piece rather than the scope of a feature narrative film.

    Also makeup for darker skin tones has come along way since Lena Horn’s Max Factor’s-Dark Egyptian, but whoa that old age get up on Ms. Hudson was scary than Mr. Howard’s attempt at a SA dialect.

    Lastly, I agree with folks who commented upon the realities of getting a film green lighted…let alone hoping to make some cash back on this material from an American audience. Maybe even an international audience would only cough up the bucks to see it in first run houses with familiar stars in it for that matter.

    Anyway…I vote for the remarkable Chiwetel Edjiofor…in everything from Othello to Mandela and about anything else he chooses to do! Not from SA but can do a credible accent.

  • abie

    Lame.Schmultzy.Cliched shots. No emotion or underlying tension. Miss Hudson shows she can pout and poor Mr Howard does his best. This looks like a cheap studio film with a bad make up department.I suggest Mr Roodt stop finding convenient and politically correct topics that may sell to the ignorant and concentrate on making great South African films. District 9 showed us it can be done

  • “Also makeup for darker skin tones has come along way since Lena Horn’s Max Factor’s-Dark Egyptian”…LOL. Defintely my fav line through all this criticism and glad I’m not the only one who was thinking that literal fact. I mean damn, Ms. Jane Pittman looked better than that…and that was 34 years ago (or so)!

    Winnie Mandela is actually one of my heroes. The way she kept up the struggle despite her husband being in jail for so long is lost on many people, as well as why the divorce was inevitable. Hope they can do some re-shoots, and even some voice dubbing, to make this better…though I doubt that’ll happen.

  • Was expecting to hear Terrence Howard say, “I’m Nelson Mandela, ‘mayne’!”

    • Negre Marron

      or…”hey, Winnie what’s going on with you, mayne?”

      this film is gonna knock Denzel in the Mighty Quinn or the entire cast of Jason’s Lyric for worst accent in a Black film.

      • Hey now — Denzel’s accent in Mighty Quinn wasn’t that bad… they were on a nameless, fictitious Caribbean island. Everybody’s accent was good to go because nobody’s accent was right. ;-)

  • Tim

    While the trailer leaves much to be desired, I sense a Best Actress Oscar for Jennifer Hudson. I barely recognized her.