Jennifer Hudson: “I Made Major Sacrifices To Perfect ‘Winnie’ Starring Role”
The trailer for the upcoming Winnie Mandela biopic, starring Jennifer Hudson as the titular character, and Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela, was met with much ridicule and derision when we unveiled it last fall; and rightfully so in my not-so humble opinion! The film was woefully miscast, and it’s evident; the acting just doesn’t look strong; the accents were poor; the makeup team did a horrible job aging J-Hud, and more. I embedded it again below if you missed it the first time.
The trailer quickly went viral, much to the chagrin of the film’s production team, who felt that it was essentially an unauthorized leak. Although I’m not sure how much of a difference an authorized unveiling would have made. The proof is/was in the pudding; unless they planned on cutting a much better trailer than what we all saw. And I wouldn’t be surprised if, given the terrible reception that first trailer received, they re-cut and re-release another.
Anyway… maybe this will help soften some of the damage that’s already been done for some… maybe not. I stumbled upon this April 17th write-up on J-Hud, in which she talks about the immense sacrifices she made for the Winnie role, to ensure her performance was authentic enough.
For example, the piece states that one of her preparation rituals was to lock herself inside a prison cell day and night, for the duration of the shoot, in order to help feel and understand what the real Winnie Mandela went through while she was confined.
And maybe even more extreme, J-Hud revealed that she didn’t have any contact with her relatively new-born child throughout the film shoot in South Africa, in order to mentally prepare herself for the role, stating, “I was only playing her for four months, but this was her life, what she went through, and that’s a story that is so worth being told. I wanted to make it as real as possible, even down to being away from the baby – I didn’t see him the whole time I was away.”
She essentially lived in “absolute solitude” for the entire duration of the film shoot, and pushed herself to her absolute physical and psychological limits in order to do justice to the part.
“I remember the crew saying to me ‘We can bring the baby here,’ and I was like ‘It’s OK.’ Winnie was away from her children, and she couldn’t see them either. It made it that much more real to me, being away from my baby too. I got to feel what Winnie felt, and that’s basically what it takes to make the character that much more real to me,” J-Hud added.
Serious ish, right? The Christian Bale school of acting.
None of us has seen the film yet, so, who knows, maybe it really was just a badly put together trailer, and not at ll indicative of what the film itself is like. I’m hopeful, if only for J-Hud’s sake.
The real Winnie Mandela didn’t authorize the making of the film, and was expressive of her contempt of it. But it still got made. It hasn’t screened anywhere publicly just yet, so, we really don’t have any real sense of how it all plays out. I however expect that it’ll show up on the festival circuit this year. If anything, it’ll probably be released in South Africa first.
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