After nearly two years of delays, questionable casting choices, and a new distributor (megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes), Winnie, the biopic of Winnie Mandela, is gearing up to hit theaters this fall.

The film stars Jennifer Hudson in the title role and casts her alongside Terrance Howard, who stars as Winnie’s husband, Nelson Mandela. Many, including Winnie Mandela herself, were trouble by the casting choices, and if this trailer is any indication, I can see why.

The film originally debuted at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival, but after it received less than stellar reviews, the film’s producers took it off the festival circuit to undergo some changes.

Did it help?

Check out the five-minute trailer to find out.

What do you think? Will you be watching Winnie when it hits theaters this fall?

  • Dalili


  • lil ray

    Terrance Howard is on my list i cannot support anything that he is in.

  • Becca

    It doesn’t look bad but not good either

  • aprilinspired

    Leave it alone…at least until it comes out in Redbox.

    I’m around native Africans a lot and although the story is good, the acting is inauthentic. It’s almost depressing how much I can tell the difference in accent. Also, perhaps it’s a blessing and a curse to be a well known entertainer. Too me Terrence Howard is not a suitable Mandela. I support T.D. Jakes and I understand star power sells tickets, but the casting for this film is all wrong. I will not be paying $10 to see this in theatres.

  • msbrooklynstar

    There are more than enough brilliantly capable authentic South Afican actors. Hell, pull someone from Nollywood or Gollywood but I really don’t want to have to deal with the terrible faux SA accents from these folk. Ugh

  • who run the world?…GOD

    The production doesn’t look too bad, maybe if they weren’t butchering the accents so bad I would pay. It’s too bad because I would love to see a good movie about Winnie!

  • gfkag

    Well you all can look forward to Idris Elba’s Nelson Mandela Biopic, ‘Long Walk to Freedom,” whenever it finally comes out

  • kim

    lol…. I really wanted this to be good :(

  • Dalili

    No to that too…lol! *sigh*

  • gfkag

    LOL I wouldnt watch it either! I just figured since some ppl were Elba fans…

  • myblackfriendsays

    It looks okay. It seems weird to do a movie about her when there hasn’t been a big movie about him.

  • YB

    I hate it when people of the African Diaspora play roles intended for continental Africans and vice versa. Ugh

  • Sandra

    Um, I won’t waste money on this film. I strongly dislike Jhud for not seeking out Winnie when she accepted this role and the acting feels unauthentic. The accents? Even worse. I’ll wait for Elba’s Mandela film. I can’t with this.

  • Symplee Nakea

    Instead of complaining about the accents and the actors given this wonderful opportunity. How about looking at this movie for what it really is, an educational piece behind the newspaper headlines which most people only see in regards to who this woman truly was and stood for and her fight and struggle as it goes to our african heritage. Whether you’re african native, of african american, we should want to know the whole story and the truth behind as well as wanting to give our children this knowledge as well. Should it really have to be full of action, or comic relief for our people to go and support an independent film about one of our own? Really people y’all need to do and be better.

  • sandra

    Cosign. This was the perfect oppurtunity to introduce some african actors, people who can lend some authenticity to the role. I mean, this story is an incredible one and if they couldn’t find american actors that could do it justice they shouldn’t have bothered. If not an SA actor atleast a recognizable actor in Nigerian and Ghanaian movies. Genevieve Nnaji comes to mind for Winnie’s role

  • Sandra

    It can be as educational as it wants to be but if I can’t buy into these actors playing these People I won’t enjoy the film. I need to be able to feel that you’ve become the character and I just don’t buy it. Period. And as a Ghanaian my BIGGEST pet peeve is having to hear a butched ‘african’ accent for 2 hours when I’m watching a film. It’s kinda like hearing someone who isn’t from the south trying to force a southren accent. If the person can’t get the phrasing and ennunciations right you’ll be annoyed. It’s the same thing.

  • OhPuhleezee

    I can’t support “Baby wipes” Howard.

  • Dalili

    @Symplee Nakea: I don’t support films simply because they are by my people for my people. Neither do I require comic relief and things being blown to smithereens to enjoy a movie. Quality however is paramount. Like @Sandra, I can’t get past the accents, additionally Terence Howard and Jennifer Hudson don’t invoke(for me) Nelson and Winnie Mandela. The intent may have been to educate the masses about Winnie’s part in the struggle for independence but this time the messengers killed the message.

  • Dalili

    *lost comment..trying again*

    @Symplee Nakea: I don’t support independent films simply because they are by my people for my people. Neither do I need comic relief and things being blown to smithereens to enjoy a film. Quality however is paramount. Like @Sandra I can’t get past the accents, additionally Terence Howard and Jennifer Hudson don’t invoke Nelson and Winnie Mandela to me. The producers intent may have been to highlight Winnie’s part in the struggle for freedom however I think in this case the messengers may very well have killed the message.

  • Malik Hemmans

    she cant act at all…I’m so tired of singers/rappers trying to act smdh

  • omfg

    i thought it came out and tanked already. i really did.

  • Mr. Man

    Sorry but these are the wrong folk to carry this particular message…

  • Jane

    they should have picked another actor to play nelson, preferably an up and comer, instead of terrance howard. not believable. sorry jen, but I’m gonna have to catch this when it hits cable tv

  • Barbara

    I will not support anything with Terence Howard in it. Not that Mustafa man either. Black women haters.

  • Queen


    Yessss! Love her as a singer, but I’m tired of the whole singer/rapper “trying to act” phase as well. There’s people who’ve studied their craft for years and would never even get an opportunity to tackle such as role on the big screen (or even make it to the big screen for that matter).

  • African Mami

    No, absolutely not! I am not going to give an ATROCIOUS actress the benefit of the doubt! No, I am not going to painstakingly go through the gruesome process of seeing an iconic African heroine-Winnie Madikezela Mandela, being BUTCHERED to death, by a minus zero degree “actress”!! Fuck that! I am OUTRAGED, that you even tried to force feed this foolishness down our throats!

  • African Mami

    What do I think?! More like, what don’t I think! This is SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My goodness! We have so many actresses in the motherland, and yet they forewent them to choose a SANGER who CANNOT act?! Aiyaiyaiyai! Do you know how EMBARRASSING it is?!! I am soooo ANGRY! BOILING, RAGING HOT!!!!!!Winnie Madikezela-Mandela is NOT just anybody! She IS an ICONIC FIGURE in AFRICA’S HISTORY BOOKS! Why couldn’t she be accorded that RESPECT?!
    OLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLO MAYO!!! It’s been AGES since, I’ve went off!!! GOTDAMN!!!
    Yes, I am screaming as I am typing! The CAPS LOCK are real, not a figment of your imagination.

    Dalili, PRAY for me to gain the little sanity I had back!!!!! I WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP for WINNNIE!!!OH HOW I WEEEEEEEEP!!

  • African Mami

    my comment posted in the wrong spot! All I’m seeing is red right about now. Sorry to affected victims.

  • Dalili

    @Sissy: LOL! I hear you! **handing you a brown bag** Deep breaths, deep breaths..this too shall pass….literally!

  • Malik Hemmans

    black people need to really stop with this “we need more positive images of black people” because every time one of these “positive” movies comes out it ends being corny and uninterested..just entertain us with good films

  • Alisha M.Gray (@ZenMamaPolitic)

    Loving South Africa, the way that I do…I have to laugh to keep from crying. I mean..can’t this man just make a ‘Red Tails 2′, and be done with his infernal desecration of anything that is Black History? D’ng. Hollywood has officially sold both Africa and African Americans back into slavery. I know they’ve been waiting since ‘Precious’ was first released. Sad. Seriously…we’re in horrible trouble. Poor Nelson and Winnie. Have they no shame. Hopefully soon..someone will put a stop to the mockery of our community. Please let it end with this.

  • African Mami

    thanks sissy!!!

    *breathes in, breathes out-starts the rant ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!!! STOP THE MOTHERFRIGGIN MADNESS

    Woosah-I’m all done, I think!

  • AshleyMonique

    This was painful to watch, I cannot even imagine the full film. I won’t be going to a theatre to see this.

  • Sweetaspie31

    What’s so sad is, this looks like it could been a great movie. I couldn’t get past the horrible accents and I can’t stand Terrance Howard’s voice.

  • Claudia

    I will see this movie and takes guests who like myself need to know more about the life experiences and challenges of this great struggle. I will open my mind to accept the strength gained through sacrifice and pain demonstrated in this movie. Mandela and Winnie had an extraordinary life experience. What can we all learn from them ? All life lessons are not comfortable, can we all be willing to learn what we don’t know ?

  • Getmelolly

    It doesn’t look that bad! I’d watch it.

  • Dianne M. Daniels (@DivaStyleCoach)

    I will be at the theatre to see this on opening weekend – I want to know more about Winnie Mandela and the kind of woman she was. I saw the news reports, but I’m hoping this movie will give more insight.

  • Ms. Write

    Terrence’s accent is terrible but it doesn’t look that bad. I wonder what Winnie and Nelson Mandela think of this movie depiction of their lives?

  • Ms. Information

    Why the hell is Terrance Howard playing Nelson Mandela?

  • Leila N

    Jennifer Hudson is so beautiful!

  • Lady P

    Even though; the clip is not leaving me with ‘a must see’ feeling, I will support due to its historical contents. I’m not too sold on the casting as well. I think the distributors should have waited to release the film until all directing and casting was 110% on point. The lives of Winnie and Nelson Mandela is too monumental off film to leave room for indecisiveness (should I go see or should I not) to view on film. Since Jennifer is a household name; hopefully, she will pull in a large and diverse crowd. Not sold on Terrance, but I’m wondering if Kimberly Elise would have been a better choice for Jennifer’s part.

  • SDJ

    I don’t like Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela. I will probably go see it to support black film.

  • Blake

    I think it will be a great film to watch and to take our children to. It is what it is and that’s a great historical piece of work. Thank Bishop Jakes for not allowing this to stay on the cutting room floor.

  • Nadell

    To be blatanly honest, this is totally DISGRACEFUL! I luv JHud and Howard but seriously this is an injustice to the Mandelas. Out of all the trained actresses in America and Africa, a singer was most qualified….? When will these singers have the regard to actually turn down roles? Out of respect to the craft of acting and just admit “I’m not right for this role nor will I do it justice”.

  • http://sgsfdsgfdsfdg Sue

    Movie making is a business, so I kinda get why they chose to cast well known African American entertainers. That said, Terrence Howard is a good actor but his South African accent is waaaayyyyy-off! In a weird way J-Hud seems to resemble a younger Winnie in some shots, her accent is not the best but somehow I feel like I could have dealt with it if they had cast a South African actor for the part of Mandela. That way they still have one major well-known name to sell the film. The cinematography seems like it might be good. The story is an important part of African history,and for it to be authentic maybe the storyteller needs to be an African.I hope that as time goes by, African film makers will make movies that tell these important stories. I don’t know if I will see this in the theatre, may decide to wait for the DVD.

  • @echidiime (@Echidiime)

    Uncomfortable to watch the botched accents. And I too have also decided not to support Howard. I just hope they didn’t sink a lot of money into this project.

  • Velma

    My father and I debated about this movie. I brought up the point that there should have been African Actors in the role, and he countered by saying, how do you know that Africans didn’t want Jennifer and Terrence to play the role? I will wait to see it on dvd.

  • Leepfrogger

    With regard to the accents of Terence Howard and Jennifer Hudson I think it needs to be borne in mind that the South African accent is one which has troubled foreign actors more than any other. There are a long list of notable names who have received bad press (local) following their atttempts to play South African roles: Morgan Freeman (Nelson Mandela), Matt Damon (Francois Pienaar), Danny Glover (Boesman and Lena), Nicole Kidman (The Interpreter), Daniel Craig (Munich) Ian McKenzie & Susan Saradon (A Dry White season), Denzil Washington (Cry Freedom) and many many more. The bottom line is that we (South Africans) will always be able to sniff out the foreigner when they open their mouths – no matter how good an actor/actress they might be. That being said, both Terence Howard and Jennifer Hudson have been highly commended for their portrayals of Nelson Mandela and Winnie respectively.

    My personal opinion is that much of the criticism comes from a deep-rooted sense of South African pride and ownership which finds it hard to accept that film makers have the audacity to cast Americans to play South African roles.

    It needs to be recognised that casting decisions are more often than not made on the basis that the artistic presence of big name stars would enable the director to produce a film at a budget that would enable it to be competitive within the world-wide film industry. Furthermore, it is often overlooked that, the involvement of names such as Terence Howard and Jennifer Hudson creates opportunities for South African and African artists and technicians to achieve world-wide recognition whilst working alongside people of their stature.

    Perhaps if we took off our typical South African blinkers and had the maturity to look past our ‘precious’ accent being “butchered” we might be pleasantly surprised by a very well made film with a very unexpected message

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