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Image Entertainment Snaps Up 'Winnie Mandela' Starring Jennifer Hudson; Up Against Weinsteins' 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom'

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood May 16, 2013 at 1:27PM

Image Entertainment has picked up all US rights to "Winnie Mandela," starring Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson as Nelson Mandela's long-time partner. The film, which is written and directed by Darrell J. Roodt from Anne Marie de Preez Bezdrob's biography, is slated for a fall 2013 release, which puts it up against the Justin Chadwick/William Nicholson biopic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," starring Idris Elba in the title role and "Skyfall" star Naomie Harris as Winnie (November 29, limited).
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Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson

Image Entertainment has picked up all US rights to "Winnie Mandela," starring Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson as Nelson Mandela's long-time partner. The film, which is written and directed by Darrell J. Roodt from Anne Marie de Preez Bezdrob's biography, is slated for a fall 2013 release, which puts it up against the Justin Chadwick/William Nicholson biopic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," starring Idris Elba in the title role and "Skyfall" star Naomie Harris as Winnie (November 29, limited). The Weinsteins are expected to preview footage for the press on May 17 in Cannes.

"Winnie Mandela" also stars Terrence Howard as the former South-African president and anti-apartheid revolutionary.

Here's a more detailed synopsis:

"Winnie Mandela" explores the personal and political life of the wife of renowned activist and former South African President, Nelson Mandela (Terrence Howard).  The film tells the compelling story of one woman’s journey as she fights for the freedom of the man she loves and for the freedom of her people during the Apartheid era.  Winnie Mandela depicts the struggle to keep the Mandela dream alive amidst her husband’s life imprisonment, her own time in solitary confinement, and her battle to overcome controversies that followed her through the years.

Winnie Mandela made 70 appearances on American network television, merited 20 stories in the New York Times, and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.  Known as South Africa’s brave and selfless “Mother of the Nation,” she became one of the most famous women in the world.

Nelson Mandela, now 94, is a figure continually revisited by Hollywood. Morgan Freeman was nominated for an Oscar for playing him in Clint Eastwood's 2009 "Invictus," while Dennis Haysbert played him in 2007's "Goodbye Bafana," and Danny Glover in the 1987 "Mandela" TV version.

This article is related to: News, Jennifer Hudson, Image Entertainment, News, Winnie Mandela, Festivals, Cannes Film Festival, Winnie Mandela, Idris Elba, Terrence Howard


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.