Jennifer Hudson tackles 'intimidating' role of Winnie Mandela
LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - For Oscar and Grammy-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, the decision to play anti-apartheid activist Winnie Mandela in her first lead role was no easy matter, especially when she saw what the former South African first lady meant to the nation.
In the biopic Winnie Mandela, which opens in United States theatres on Friday, Hudson plays the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela from the time she met him as a young woman, through decades as the public face for her imprisoned husband's fight against white rule.
The film also depicts Winnie Mandela's fall from grace when she is embroiled in murder and human rights violations before her husband is released from prison after 27 years in 1990 and goes on to become South Africa's first black president.
"It was very intimidating for me, actually," said Hudson, who came to understand the pressure of her role when she arrived in South Africa and heard people talk about Winnie Mandela.