'American Idol': Jennifer Hudson cast as Winnie Mandela in biopic

jennifer_hudson.jpgFor her next film role, "American Idol" finalist Jennifer Hudson tackles the wife of South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela in the film "Winnie."

Variety is reporting that Hudson will begin work as Winnie Mandela in May 2010 in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in prison.

While Clint Eastwood's "Invictus" focuses primarily on President Mandela, "Winnie" focuses on the president's wife, a more complex character. Winnie Mandela was an activist for her husband but was also associated with a bodyguard who murdered a 14 year-old informant and she was also later convicted of fraud. The director, Darrell J. Roodt, says they intend to tell the whole story, good and bad.

About the role, Hudson says, "I was compelled and moved when I read the script. Winnie Mandela is a complex and extraordinary woman and I'm honored to be the actress asked to portray her. This is a powerful part of history that should be told."

Just by the nature of the role, it sounds like Jennifer Hudson could be angling for her next Oscar. Hudson won Best Supporting Actress for 2006's "Dreamgirls."

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