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Terrence Howard joins the cast of WINNIE as Nelson Mandela

GATW Guest Writer

by: GATW Guest Writer
May 7th, 2010

terrence howard

I guess it's fitting that on the day that IRON MAN 2 is released, we should get Terrence Howard news. As many of you know, Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle in the sequel to the highly popular IRON MAN for reasons that vary depending on who you are asking. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Howard has signed on to play Nelson Mandela in the upcoming film WINNIE.

According to IMDb, there have been 11 films featuring the role of Nelson Mandela. Notably, Morgan Freeman, Clarke Peters, Sidney Poitier, Dennis Haybert, and Danny Glover have all previously portrayed the political luminary.

Based on the book Winnie Mandela: A Life by Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob, the film will focus on Mandela's ex-wife Nomzamo Winifred "Winnie" Zanyiwe Madikizela, who will be played by Jennifer Hudson. Though she was married to Mandela at the time he took office as the president of South Africa, she was never the first lady of the country. She is a controversial figure due to her involvement in several cases of human rights abuse. According to the description, "the book investigates the events that have made Winnie Mandela such a controversial figure: the allegations of kidnapping and murder, her divorce from Mandela, and the current fraud charges. Winnie Mandela’s journey to this point is traced with understanding and honesty, in this fascinating and balanced biography of a most enigmatic woman."

This really sounds like a fascinating project. I would have preferred the major players to include real South African actors, as it is their heritage, but I guess that is asking a lot if we actually want it to appeal to an American audience. As much as I feel that this film is important and should be made, I am a bit disappointed in the casting choices thus far. I know that Hollywood is limited when it comes to black actors with box office appeal, but I fear that Howard lacks the humility necessary to portray Mandela. The cast is way too DREAMGIRLS for my liking.

WINNIE begins shooting in Cape Town, Johannesburg on May 31 and will be directed by Darrell Roodt from his own adapted script.

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