Jennifer HudsonJennifer Hudson, the multitalented performer who was once a finalist on American Idol and is now a sought-after Oscar winner, will be starring in a biopic about Winnie Mandela, based on the book Winnie Mandela: A Life. Mandela, the ex-wife of South African President Nelson Mandela, is a controversial figure; although she's a stalwart activist against apartheid, with some calling her the Mother of the Nation, she has also been embroiled in several scandals, both of the personal and political nature. Perhaps most controversial was her association with a former bodyguard who was charged with the murder of a kidnapped 14-year-old. She was also charged with bank fraud in 2001; as the New York Times wrote, "there is no doubt that the woman who was once celebrated as a heroine of the anti-apartheid struggle has become mired in a particularly sticky set of financial and political troubles."

According to Variety, the movie will be directed by Darrell J. Roodt, a South African who directed Cry, the Beloved Country, which stars James Earl Jones.

Hudson said, "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."

This sounds like a really interesting project, and one that will shed light on a figure in history that's too often relegated to "wife-of" status. I look forward to seeing Hudson on the big screen once again. Hudson won an Oscar for Supporting Actress for her role in Dreamgirls, and went on to star in The Secret Life of Bees and the indie drama Fragments (aka Winged Creatures) the same year she played Carrie Bradshaw's assistant in Sex and the City.

Filming on Winnie begins May 30th in South Africa. Hudson also will be performing the theme song.

Take that, Simon Cowell!