From The Grio — Maybe they did it for the money.That’s what it had to be. Why else would two “just ok” actors decide to take on characters as challenging, iconic and complex as Nelson and Winnie Mandela?

Or maybe it isn’t their fault. The trailer for the new movie Winnie was recently leaked, and the results are more than a little disappointing — so who’s going to take the blame?

The film, based upon the life of Winnie Mandela, was first announced, with Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard in the staring roles, people were surprised, to say the least. But now that the trailer is out, it seems that everyone’s apprehensions have been confirmed — this looks like a really bad movie.

I mean, where do we even begin? The painstakingly slow pace of the trailer? The atrocious ‘old age’ make-up? The torturous accents? How about Terrence Howard. Why would anyone think to cast him as Nelson Mandela? Besides the very obvious issue of his skin color being several shades lighter than Mandela, Howard is usually most convincing as a creepy conniving villain. It asks audiences to take a real stretch of imagination to put him in the shoes of a man who single-handedly changed a nation.

And if this trailer is any indication, Terrence Howard went where no imagination could possibly follow. There was no effort to make him even slightly resemble Nelson Mandela, and the accent is just painful. It’s so bad your ears might bleed. Like they tossed out the budget for dialect coaches (and for a decent movie trailer editor) and decided to blow it on a pair of Hollywood actors.

Not to knock Hudson and Howard, but we have to remember, this is no okie doke straight-to-DVD production. This is a film about two iconic, legendary, world-changing , Nobel prize-winning people, who are still alive. It’s one thing to disrespect someone’s life story when they’re dead, but when they have the capacity and mental faculties to watch your lame attempt at recreating their life, and you don’t give it 110 percent, well… that’s just plain wrong.

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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  • African Mami

    @ Akai ([email protected])

    “Why don’t you take your “qualms” and other issues up with your own fellow countrymen?”Winnie was directed by Darrell Roodt (also directed Sarafina and Yesterday), produced by Andre Pieterse, and both of them were born on the continent (South Africa).

    Akai I ALREADY ADDRESSED my fellow countrymen, the ones that need some form of addressing (Darrell Roodt, Andre Pieterse) in my previous post:”Honestly, whoever the casting director was, straight up DISRESPECTED my continent!!!!!!!! I am mad.”].

    To be honest, Darrell Roodt missed the mark with this one. After directing ‘Cry, The Beloved Country and ‘Sarafina’, he should have thought about his REPUTATION and that of MY BELOVED CONTINENT AFRICA. All he cared about was creating a buzz, by riding off of J-HUD’s recent UNDESERVED Oscar win.

    When you are dealing with a political ICON who amidst controversy, was at the very front line seeking liberation for a country that had been in COLONIAL SHACKLES for such a long time, this biopic should have been treated like an egg, SENSITIVELY!!!! If it weren’t for people like her and scores of others, there would not be a South Africa to talk of! Bear that in mind.

    Anything coming out of Africa has to be done strategically! There has to be logical thought structure. If you google ‘Africa’, I can bet you the first thing that comes up are the following headlines, ‘HIV/AIDS, LIONS AND ZEBRAS, DROUGHT, KWASHIOKOR SAFARI’ You will not see, such headlines like I see of America ‘The 10 most brainiest cities in America’ (It was on yahoo today, 12.05.10.) If this movie had been given the RESPECT it should have trust me I would be a very calm chick with no qualm nor issues to address. Unfortunately, that is not the case and will continue to rant and rave until the world starts to see us for what we are.


  • African Mami


    I am not being hard on anybody. The Western media already has a preconceived notion of what Africa is all about. We are always fighting for a balanced media portrayal. Yet when we have a chance to present ourselves in a positive light, we decide to be lazy.These two notable Africans decide to abide by Hollywood rules and standards and decide it’s okay to not research potential talent? Umm, no thanks they get no pass!

    Winnie Madikezela-Mandela, might have never walked on ‘water’, and is no saint to say the least, but that is not to say her SIGNIFICANCE should have been reduced to what it was in this biopic. I give props where due, and criticize accordingly where it ain’t due! He did a fabulous job with ‘Sarafina’, and ‘Yesterday’ but shitted on the Winnie Mandela biopic. As such, going by his previous works ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Sarafina’ I EXPECTED a lot from him. If my expectations were too high! Too bad.

    Being that they were both born in South Africa, I EXPECTED much more! They know very well that we suffer from a dire case of foreign misconceptions and attitudes. As such they should have put their best foot forward, given their 100% (which they DID NOT, J-HUD playing Winnie is just LAZINESS, they couldn’t cast other TALENTED folks) How the hell do you go from ‘Sarafina’ a well crafted documentary/movie that captured the wrongs and injustices committed at the height of apartheid to doing a mediocre (and I am being very generous using this word) movie? If he was able to cast WHOOPI GOLDBERG an ‘OSCAR’, ‘TONY’, ‘EMMY’, ‘GOLDEN GLOBE’ award winning actress in Sarafina, and convince Hollywood to invest in the project, what stopped him from pitching in CREDIBLE actresses?

    Akai, I have absolutely no problem with the actors being American! My MAIN PROBLEM is casting somebody without talent and giving them the lead role! J-HUD is not going to be filling any empty seats, nope!! Now if we were talking about Alfre Woodard and the other actresses I had previously mentioned I would agree with you whole-heartedly.

    The project monies were gotten from foreign investors, there is NO DEBATE about that, but damn! Why do they have to do us like that?! The Nollywood suggestion is GREAT, makes my heart flutter (lol!), but it’s no secret that Africa’s movie industry is still at its infancy stage albeit making the necessary steps toward becoming a force to reckon with.

    Call me a skeptic, but the trailer should have been the selling point. The biopic is not supposed to teach people about the horrors of apartheid, it is supposed to celebrate the achievements of Winnie Mandela.

    You make a GREAT point, ‘…along comes a story of quality…’ PAUSE. One word, especially stands out ‘QUALITY’. Her story is WORTH being told. In reference to this particular biopic, I am one of the ‘…hordes of complainers’, because there is NEED to!

  • African Mami

    Dear Clutch Magazine,

    Can I please get an explanation as to why, some of my comments and others were deleted? Our opinions/comments remained respectful, so I fail to understand why I would waste my time making valid points, for them to be deleted afterwards!

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that the subject matter presented on here is to encourage dialog?

    Thanks in advance.
    African Mami

  • *shaking my head*