The American Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated star of Hustle and Flow, Terrence Howard (Crash), has been cast as Nelson Mandela in the new South Africa/Canada co-production, Winnie. Howard will star alongside Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), who plays the title role of Winnie Madizikela-Mandela.
Directed by South Africa’s Darrell James Roodt, who made South Africa’s first Oscar-nominated film, Yesterday, Winnie commences principal photography in South Africa on 31 May. The producers are Andre Pieterse of Ma-Afrika Films and Michael Mosca of Equinoxe Films, Canada.
Commenting on the casting of Howard, Roodt says: “Terrence is one of the most gifted and versatile actors in the world today. It is going to be an absolute privilege to watch him bring to life Nelson Mandela, one of the most formidable individuals in modern history.”
Pieterse and Mosca added: “We are honored to be making this film and to be working with the brilliant Terrence Howard alongside the talented and beautiful Jennifer Hudson. This is inspired casting; Howard as Nelson Mandela and Hudson as Winnie, two of Hollywood’s great talents.”
Howard adds: “The story of Winnie and Nelson Mandela is one of the most inspirational true love stories of all time. They had an uncompromising devotion to the principles prescribed in the Apostle Paul’s recommendation of God’s own loyal love. Love’s long suffering and enduring nature, its hope and encouragement, rest as an outstanding demonstration of the spiritual fortitude that prepares one’s heart to uplift the nation and free the entire world. What a crowning honor for Ms. Hudson and myself, to share in the telling of their remarkable story.”
Howard received a National Board Review Award for Best Breakthrough Performance in the Academy Award® winning Best Picture Crash. Some of his other film credits include Ray, Dead Presidents, Mr. Holland’s Opus, and Iron Man.
Jennifer Hudson says, “I was compelled and moved by the script. Winnie Mandela is a complex and extraordinary woman and I’m honored to be the actress asked to portray her. This is a powerful part of history that should be told.”
Penned by Andre Pieterse and Darrell James Roodt, the screenplay is based on the book Winnie Mandela: A Life by Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob, a former journalist.