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Jennifer Hudson took some pointers from the great actors before her, experiencing first hand what her character went through in real life to convey it as best she can in the movie.

With a new sound, a new role as Winnie Mandela, and a new love for life, Jennifer Hudson’s metamorphosis is complete. In this week’s Newsweek, the star talks to Lorraine Ali about her forthcoming album, her dramatic weight loss, and more.

After a few days of sleeping in a dank cell in South Africa, Jennifer Hudson started to lose it. In an attempt to channel Winnie Mandela for a new biopic about the controversial apartheid-era icon, Hudson opted to confine herself day and night to the prison set where the crew shot scenes depicting Mandela’s 500-plus days in solitary confinement. She wanted, she says, to “experience some of the hell that woman went through.” By the third day, hell had arrived. Her hair was tangled, her eyes sunken, and she started having imaginary conversations with her son. Reflecting on the experience still brings Hudson to a dark place. “They snatched her out of her home and she had no idea what happened to her children,” Hudson says of Mandela. “Imagine living that? This was her life! This was real. As a woman, I am angry for her, hurting for her. And as a mom? God, being in solitary confinement, away from my son just for five days when shooting those scenes—it was too much for me. I was drained and stripped down. I was changed.”

via The Daily Beast

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