Winnie – Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard
I tend to welcome African themed Hollywood movies with a degree of anxiety and trepidation. District 9 and Blood Diamonds to mention just a couple have been controversial for varying reasons. The usual criticism revolves around the use of Hollywood film stars to the detriment of local African actors and actresses. Arguably, Hollywood stars do have what it takes to “carry” films to astronomical box office numbers whereas most accomplished African Actors are largely unknown.
However, the voices of descent grow louder when iconic figures like Mandela and Winnie Mandela are played by actors who not only fail to capture the essence of these figures but fail to convey authenticity. The main gripe for me with this movie (admittedly the trailer), apart from Jeniffer Hudson’s below par makeup, is the inauthentic accent used by both Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard. For non South African ears this may sound like an unfair criticism or my South African ears may be a touch too delicate.
Winnie was directed by Darrell James Roodt and it starrs Jennifer Hudson as 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.
After watching the trailer (below) my sense of anxiety has admittedly not dissapeared. Perhaps previous experience of watching African themed blockbusters has made me naturally suspicious. I sincerely hope that the movie, slated for release in January 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival lives up to expectation.
What’s your opinion about having Jennifer and Terrence in the leading roles? Do they do justice to the accents?