As Vanessa posted last week, T.D. Jakes and his company TDJ Enterprises/Film Bridge International are on board to executive produce and develop a domestic marketing and distribution strategy for the Winnie, which stars Jennifer Hudson (as the titular character, Winnie Mandela) and Terrence Howard (as Nelson Mandela).
The film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year to mostly luke-warm reviews, has been in limbo since then, and will now, finally, be reaching theaters, or cable, or VOD, DVD/Blu-ray, something. It's not yet known what exactly that distribution strategy will be, but I was given the opportunity to ask that question, as well as a few others, to TDJ Enterprises, however, I don't have anything to report back to you just yet; so stay tuned.
In the meantime however, I did come across this revelation via Forbes magazine, which answers two of the many questions I had for TDJ, which were, 1.) just how much TDJ's involvement will be, and 2.) whether the cut of the film that wasn't well-received at Toronto last fall is the cut that will be released under this new agreement with TDJ and Film Bridge International:
In fact, Canadian producer Michael Mosca, who made “Winnie” with a South African partner, Andre Pietersee, tells me that Jakes is just putting his name on the film in the same way that celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Sean Combs have done to garner interest in a project. “We are the producers of the film,” Mosca said, “and it’s all done. Equinoxe Films has the rights in Canada. I think there will be distributor screenings in Los Angeles the first two weeks of May, right before Cannes, for a U.S. distributor. We’ll release it in the fall.” Mosca says that since Toronto, “Winnie” has undergone several changes and that he’s very happy with it.
So there ya go… assuming this holds.
I assumed that TDJ's involvement would be more than just putting Jakes' name on the film; but when I hear back from TDJ, I'll share what I'm told if it's any different from what the producers of the film say above.
And even though I haven't seen the film, based on the reviews I read of it last year, I can only guess that it did need to "undergo several changes." What exactly those changes are, we'll find out soon enough.
The Forbes piece also notes a fall 2012 release, so I assume marketing for it (likely a new trailer, since the one released last year was universally-panned, poster, stills, etc) will begin in a month or two.
I should note that Idris Elba and Naomie Harris will also begin shooting a Mandela pic (Nelson's story specifically) next month, with Idris as Nelson and Naomie as Winnie. There might have been some pressure there to get Winnie out before the Idris/Naomie pic entered the marketplace. Comparisons are likely, even though the focus of each is different.
And also, I wonder if the producers of Winnie have since got in touch with the real Winnie Mandela, who, as you all recall, wasn't too pleased with the fact that she wasn't consulted in the making of them film, and made that very well known publicly. I wonder if she's seen the film – whether the original cut, or the new one that's been change up.