Popular pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes of Dallas-based megachurch The Potter's House has announced that he has come on board to executive produce an upcoming biopic film chronicling the love story of former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela and his ex-wife, Winnie Mandela.
TDJ Enterprises/TDJ Independents signed on to produce the film to help with its domestic marketing and distribution plans, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film, which has just wrapped production, stars singer and actress Jennifer Hudson as Winnie, and acclaimed actor Terrence Howard as Mandela.
"Stories like 'Winnie' and 'A Million Colours' are important historically and socially. Collaborations like this offer us a unique ability to provide the global community a window into African culture through the creation of quality content," Jakes told The Hollywood Reporter.
Jakes has also participated in the production of the upcoming films "A Million Colours," "Jumping the Broom," and "Sparkle," which also features Jennifer Hudson and the late singer Whitney Houston.
The "Winnie" screenplay is based on the 2005 book, Winnie Mandela: A Life, written by Anne Mare du Preez Bezdrob.
"Everyone has an opinion about Winnie Mandela, and usually a strong one. She has been adored, feared and hated more than any other woman in South African history," the book description reads.
"This biography is an in-depth and intimate look at Winnie Mandela's personal and political life, and takes the reader on a remarkable journey of understanding," it adds.
Winnie Mandela, born Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela, served in her husband's African National Congress party for years and had been nicknamed the "Mother of the Nation" after her 1964 arrest during the long struggle for freedom from apartheid. But it has been a series of events and claims that have turned her into a controversial figure in South African politics.
In 1991, Mandela was accused in the kidnapping of 14-year-old activist Stompie Moeketsi, who was later murdered. She was also accused of fraud in 2004, and South Africa's Truth and Justice Commission accused her of committing over a dozen human rights violations during the apartheid regime.
In 1992, reportedly in light of the accusations against his wife, Nelson Mandela announced that they would be separating, which was followed in 1996 with a divorce, allegedly due to her infidelity.
Despite the Hollywood heavyweights behind the film, Mandela herself has said that she is not thrilled about the upcoming biopic.
"I have absolutely nothing against Jennifer, but I have everything against the movie itself," Mandela told CNN last June.
"I was not consulted. I am still alive, and I think that it is a total disrespect to come to South Africa, make a movie about my struggle and call that movie some translation of a romantic life of Winnie Mandela," the activist said.
"I think it is an insult," she added. "I don't know what would be romantic in our bitter struggle."