It's been a long journey for this film; I feel like we've been talking about it for YEARS now!
The last post? Almost 2 months ago, when it was announced that Image Entertainment had acquired all USA rights to Winnie, the Winnie Mandela biopic starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard.
One Village Entertainment and Image Entertainment (brands of Robert Johnson's RLJ Entertainment), have announced this afternoon that the film, now titled Winnie Mandela (as opposed to just Winnie previously), in USA theaters, on September 6, this fall - Bill Bromiley, Chief Acquisitions Officer for Image Entertainment, made today’s announcement via press release.
TD Jakes (via his TDJ Enterprises) will "present" the film, which is produced by André Pieterse (Ironwood Films) and Michael Mosca (Equinoxe Films).
An adaptation of Anné Mariè du Preez Bezdrob’s biography Winnie Mandela: A Life, the film explores the personal and political life of the wife of renowned activist and revered former South African President, Nelson Mandela, telling the story of her struggle for the freedom during the Apartheid era.
“Both Jennifer Hudson (as Winnie) and Terrence Howard (as Nelson Mandela) deliver powerful performances that depict the lives of two influential people of our time,” said Bromiley. “They are a force to be reckoned with on screen, showcasing the Mandelas’ journey through their struggles and triumphs.”
Our readers in Canada would've already seen the film, because it was set to open there commercially last October, about a month after it was the opening night film at the 8th annual Montreal International Black Film Festival.
The film attracted controversy before a single frame was shot, primarily over the casting of Hudson, and the lack of communication with, and input from the real Winnie Mandela.
Jasmin interviewed director Darrell Roodt, last year for S&A, and you're strongly encouraged to read that interview HERE. In it, he addressed a lot of the questions many of you have had about the project since we first alerted you to it, like his reasons for casting Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard, the audience backlash against his casting choices, especially by South Africans, the real Winnie Mandela's objections to the project, what we can expect from the film, and more.
Again, read that interview HERE.
This is just one of several feature films that Image Entertainment has acquired and/or released in the last 12 months, that have been covered on S&A. Others include the Laurence Fishburne thriller, The Colony, Olatunde Osunsamni's thriller Evidence, non-theatrical rights to Spike Lee's Red Hook Summer, Matthew Cherry's family drama, The Last Fall, and others.
Watch an older trailer for Winnie Mandela below (although I'd expect a new one to be cut ahead of Image Entertainment's release of it):