Race, ethnicity and nationality can be major issues in films. When Jennifer Lopez
was selected to play Selena
in the 1997 biopic, some Mexican-American activists protested that the actress should be Mexican; Lopez is Puerto Rican. However, once the film was released, Lopez's performance was praised.
Argentinians protested when Madonna
landed the role of
in the film version of Evita
. Some felt that a woman of Spanish background should play Eva and others were mortified considering Madonna's racy past. Madonna won a Golden Globe for her performance.
Many in the African-American community were frustrated that Angelina Jolie
played Mariane Pearl
, the wife of slain journalist Daniel Pearl
, in A Mighty Heart
. Jolie was "darkened up" to play Pearl who is of Dutch-Jewish and Afro-Chinese-Cuban descent. Nonetheless, Jolie was specifically chosen by Pearl and the performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
Now, according to the New York Post
, lawyers for Winnie Mandela,
the former wife of President Nelson Mandela,
slammed the producers of her biopic for not selecting an actress from South Africa
. Furthermore, Winnie Mandela wants approval of the script. If her demand is not granted, she will allegedly file a lawsuit to stop filming. The film is set to start production at the end of May in South Africa.
The producer, André Pieterse
, said he has no plans to give Winnie Mandela script approval and stressed the story was thoroughly researched.
I'm sure it's tough for a director to grant script approval -- but can you imagine a film about your life, you're still alive and well, and you're told, "Butt out!"
On the issue of a South African actress playing Winnie Mandela, I think it's a valid point, but the film, which has a $15 million budget, is concerned about the cash. They want a bankable actress -- perceived cultural morality is thrown out of the Hollywood window.
I am sure Jennifer Hudson will do an amazing job. Do you think a South African actress should be selected for the role of Winnie Mandela?
On another note, Terrence Howard
will be playing Nelson Mandela ...