Jennifer Hudson, Winnie Mandela

Frank Micelotta/Getty Images, Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images

Jennifer Hudson is going first lady on us. Just not our first lady.

The Oscar winner is baiting the Academy once more, this time as she signs on to star as the titular Winnie in a biopic about the wife of former South Africa prez Nelson Mandela.

According to Variety, the drama—based on the Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob biography Winnie Mandela: A Life—won't shy away from the less flattering and more controversial elements of the famous spouse's life.

A mom and, of course, wife, Mandela was a loyal supporter of her husband and was jailed herself. In later years, she was accused of horrendous human rights violations by an ex-bodyguard, who claimed she regularly ordered him to beat and kill people, including a 14-year-old boy. She was convicted of kidnapping and assault.

Not that Hudson's worried about taking on such a challenging role...

"I was compelled and moved when I read the script," Hudson told the trade mag of the part, which will be her first since the tragic deaths of her mother, brother and nephew last fall. "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."

There's no word yet on who will play Nelson Mandela, but if producers choose to go the May-December route, Variety helpfully points out that Morgan Freeman is already playing the iconic figure opposite Matt Damon in the forthcoming Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood.


Check out which other stars are making their way to the big screen in our Casting Couch gallery.

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