*The director of the upcoming Winnie Mandela biopic “Winnie” starring Jennifer Hudson is speaking out against criticism and protests leveled against the project by the real Winnie Mandela.

As previously reported, the ex-wife of South African leader Nelson Mandela has taken issue with the movie, which also features actor Terrence Howard, and is not happy about the way she is portrayed in the script. Her lawyers have referred to the film as a veiled “character assassination.”

However, director Darrell Roodt said he and the film’s producers are forging ahead with the 2 ½ month shoot beginning May 31 in South Africa.

“We don’t shy away from the controversies… [the film is] not for Winnie Mandela, it’s about Winnie Mandela,” said Roodt, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He added: “If it wasn’t for Winnie Mandela, South Africa would have been a vastly different place… it’s the ultimate women’s movie.”