Mandela-to-Be Jennifer Hudson Draws Ire of South African Acting Community


In one of their most searing outbursts since Neill Blomkamp went with CGI prawns in District 9, the Creative Workers Union of South Africa expressed displeasure today over the casting of Jennifer Hudson as controversial former first lady Winnie Mandela. According to the group's leaders, the Oscar-winner's enlistment in Winne is merely the latest in a damaging trend of outsourcing some of the nation's best work to foreigners.

In fact, despite the homegrown success of District 9, Hudson's casting may be kind of a last straw for 2009 -- this after Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon get their accents on this week in Invictus and John Malkovich imposed upon the middling adaptation of Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee's novel Disgrace. The union hasn't simply condemned the project, though: It has openly called for Hudson to either leave or be removed from Winnie in favor of South African talent.

"It can't happen that we want to develop our own Hollywood and yet bring in imports," CWU president Mabutho Sithole told one national newspaper, while its secretary general protested even more vehemently elsewhere: "This decision must be reversed, it must be stopped now. [...] If the matter doesn't come up for discussion, we will push for a moratorium to be placed on the film."

It's not like you can really blame them; imagine how SAG might react if we went casting the seventh-place finisher of South African Idol in our high-profile biopics. That said, a deal's a deal! And anyway, it doesn't take a huge leap of imagination to acknowledge that Hudson is telling you she is not going -- and you, and you, and even you, CWUSA, you're going to love her.

· S.African actors 'want Hudson out of Mandela film' [AFP]


  • Christopher says:

    You left out the CWU's most passionate argument: "Despite her astounding singing voice, Jennifer Hudson is a terrible actress."

  • norma says:

    This story does not need anymore jokes added by the media. The let down and hurt that the SA actors are feeling should not be with Jennifer Hudson. The multi-talented actress was asked to play the role and she excepted. The director of the movie is from Africa. He considered Jennifer for the part and not you. Jennifer is a very humble young lady, but she is also very well with it. I understand the talk and all, but it is not being handeled right. The media should not have been involved at this point. There are better ways to handel any situation. Nobody here is responsible for what's going on over there unless you mess with one of ours. Jennifer Hudson is one of our sweathearts, and we protect our own. I am almost for dam sure if the union would have just called up Jennifer, and explain the ordeal she would have understood. Over here there are some who was given alot, but Jennifer Hudson is not one. This amazing young lady has earned her way up the ladder.

  • norna says:

    Christopher, I did not leave out anything. To the CWU and you Jennifer Hudson is a great actress. I still feel she could do a super job with the role. However, like I said I understand their cry about the movie. It could have been handeled in a better way. Out of all that is being said about the role is a matter of opinion. Opinions are something we all have just like butts. Nobody should be angry at Jennifer. She did not do anything wrong. Looks like to me SA have a problem with themselves. They are the ones who are not on the same page. Jennifer was asked to play the role not them. Now, who is the best actress for the job

  • bob says:

    My lord - if these guys want to make a movie about winnie and feel a desire to cast a south african actor - then they CAN DO IT THEMSELVES aaaarrgghh! it makes me so @#%^&*! angry to see this typical and embarassing finger-pointing behaviour - a casting decision is, always always, the choice of a director and relevant production people - not a bunch of edgy showbiz malemas.