When Morgan Freeman played Nelson Mandela in Invictus, it was the world's most obvious casting, and made the movie worth watching even though it was a huge snore. Freeman put his stamp on the role simply by looking so damn much like Mandela, and it was hard to imagine anyone else tackling the role-- much less happening less than a year later.

Terrence Howard, then, is one very brave man. THR reports that he's signed on to play Mandela in Winnie, a biopic focusing on Mandela's controversial wife who will be played by Jennifer Hudson. The small-scale drama-- it's being made for just $15 million-- starts filming in South Africa at the end of this month, and will be directed by Darrell Roodt, a South African director whose work hasn't gotten too noticed on these shores. Casting major Hollywood actors should change that right quick.

The Mandela Howard will play will inevitably be a different one from Freeman's incarnation, as Winnie will likely be set in the very early years of Mandela's career, before he was imprisoned on Robben Island. Winnie married Nelson in 1958, and worked as an activist against the apartheid government while her husband was imprisoned. Not long after his release, though, the two separated due to her infidelity. Hudson's role is bound to be more challenging than Howard's, but hopefully playing saintly Mandela will give Howard the chance to show off his actual acting talent, which he hasn't done much of since that 2005 Hustle and Flow Oscar nomination. He and Hudson are both in need of a career boost; is this team-up exactly what they both need?

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