So who would have thought in the weak link in the forthcoming biopic of Winnie Mandela played by “American Idol” winner Jennifer Hudson would actually be Terrence Howard in the role of the iconic Nelson Mandela? Perhaps he should’ve played nice with Marvel and kept on playing War Machine.
An extended reel for “Winnie” has arrived and it’s an embarrassment on all levels. Directed by Darrell J. Roodt (“Sarafina,” “Cry The Beloved Country“) the film plays out like a made-for-TV movie with tepid acting and narration (whoever plays Winnie’s father), dubious accents (Howard), one note villainy (Elias Koteas) and some generic tinkly piano for the score. You would think that with four minutes, you would get some sense of a narrative arc or an emotion to latch on to, but the only feeling you’re left with is the curiosity of just how small the budget was on this.
Additionally, the seamier aspects of Winnie’s life — she was convicted of kidnapping in relation to the murder of a 14-year-old boy, and of fraud in 2003, and she split from Mandela in 1992 due to infidelity — seem pretty much absent here, though in the film’s early days, producers promised that it would be a warts-and-all biopic. We’ll see. Check out the footage for yourself below, but yeah, don’t expect this at next year’s Oscars. [Vulture]