The Dreamgirls actress is set to portray Winnie Mandela in South African filmmaker Darrell J. Roodt's new project Winnie, about the famous politician's longtime spouse.
Hudson was delighted to land the leading role, saying: "I was compelled and moved when I read the script. Winnie Mandela is a complex and extraordinary woman and I'm honoured to be the actress asked to portray her. This is a powerful part of history that should be told."
But Hudson's appointment has caused uproar among the members of the Creative Workers Union of South Africa, who insist a local actress should have been cast as the title character in a movie so important to the country's history.
The Union's secretary general, Oupa Lebogo, even goes as far as threatening to boycott the picture if Hudson's casting is not reconsidered.
Lebogo says, "This decision must be reversed, it must be stopped now. If the matter doesn't come up for a discussion, we will push for a moratorium to be placed on the film."
Protesters also argue Hudson's inclusion in the film project will hinder the country's development of its movie industry.
Union president Mabutho Sithole tells The Citizen newspaper, "It can't happen that we want to develop our own Hollywood and yet bring in imports."
December 07, 2009 3:49am EST
Agence France Presse is reporting that South African actors are up in arms over the casting of Jennifer Hudson as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Winnie, an upcoming film by veteran South African director Darrell J. Roodt.
The Creative Workers Union of South Africa said using foreign actors to tell the country's stories undermined efforts to develop the national film industry, AFP reports.
At a heated press briefing in Johannesburg on Saturday, the union and a group of actors said local and international producers must follow the right consultation procedures before "bypassing" the law and bringing international work and actors to South Africa, The Citizen reported.
"It can't happen that we want to develop our own Hollywood and yet bring in imports," the union's president Mabutho Sithole said, according to The Citizen.
The union said it would push for a meeting with the departments of arts and culture and trade and industry as well as home affairs.
Union secretary general Oupa Lebogo said in local newspaper The Times, "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 being cast in South Africa. We are being undermined; there is no respect at all."
Hudson, an Oscar winner for Dreamgirls, was cast in the role last month.
The criticism comes just days before the opening of Clint Eastwood's Invictus, a drama about Nelson Mandela and South Africa's 1995 rugby World Cup victory.
Morgan Freeman plays the president and Matt Damon is the rugby team captain, although no references were made to that film and its American actors in the round of union comments cited in articles about the Hudson upset this weekend.