EXCLUSIVE: Image Entertainment has acquired all US rights to the $15m biopic Winnie Mandela starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard.

Image plans an awards season autumn release to Darrell J Roodt’s adaptation of Anné Mariè du Preez Bezdrob’s biography Winnie Mandela: A Life.

Winnie Mandela tells of the fight by Mandela to keep her imprisoned husband’s memory alive and also touches on her own time in solitary confinement and other controversies that plagued her life.

André Pieterse of Ironwood Films and Michael Mosca of Equinoxe Films produced the TD Jakes presentation.

“Both Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard deliver exceptional, solid performances,” said Image’s chief acquisitions officer Bromiley, who alongside Brett Dismuke and Jess De Leo negotiated the deal with CAA on behalf of the producers and the TD Jakes Organisation.

Winnie Mandela has been a labour of love,” said Roodt. “We wanted to uphold the prestige of the Mandela name and tell her story as accurately and respectfully as possible.”

“This movie offers American audiences a rare opportunity to visit the amazing beauty of South Africa from a theatre seat,” said Jakes, CEO of TDJ Enterprises. “But even more: it is an epic look at love and liberty and the great expense incurred to attain and maintain either.

“It is our honour to inspire a wider audience to sample the drama of a love life painted on the canvas of Apartheid. Image Entertainment and [parent company] RLJ, we applaud you for having the courage to unveil this compelling story on screen.”