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Jennifer Hudson confined herself to a South African prison cell for 3 days in order to prepare for her role playing Winnie Mandela. Hudson tells Newsweek, she wanted to “experience some of the hell that woman went through.” Mandela spent over 500 days in solitary confinement.

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By the third day, Jennifer was having imaginary conversations with her son. The entire experience changed her life.

Of Winnie, Jennifer said: “They snatched her out of her home and she had no idea what happened to her children. 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.”

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