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.