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Jennifer Hudson sat in a South African jail cell for three days to prepare for her role as Winnie Mandela in the upcoming biopic, Winnie.  Hudson says she wanted to “experience some of the hell that woman went through.”

In a feature on Hudson in Newsweek magazine, Hudson says that by her third day in the jail cell, where they were filming the movie, her eyes had sunken in, her hair was tangled, and she began having imaginary conversations with her son.

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“They snatched her out of her home and she had no idea what happened to her children,” Hudson says of Mandela, ex-wife of Nelson 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.”

Hudson stars opposite Terrence Howard in the film slated to open later this year.

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