When Zoe Saldana was announced as the lead in the Nina Simone biopic, some fans were outraged. Simone was known as a singer that celebrated her ethnic looks and being an African American woman with dark skin. The singer rose above her struggles, despite the racism that she faced, and the subject of her pain was at times the main context in her songs.
Saldana, on the other hand, is a lighter-skinned actress with more European features. When photos of Saldana on set surfaced, it could be seen the actress was wearing makeup to make her appear darker-skinned, along with what appeared to be prosthetics for her nose.
Then, fans didn’t hear any development about the biopic, save for Simone’s daughter being against the film, as well. It is not known if this set the production back, but actress Zoe Saldana is finally opening up to say she isn’t happy with the process — from the filming to the limbo that production is in right now.
Speaking with Essence magazine, Saldana spoke about preparing for one of the most difficult roles she’s taken on.
“As a woman, it wasn’t difficult to empathize with another woman. But I needed to be very isolated. I moved out of my house for three months. I wasn’t really talking to anybody that I knew. I just needed to be all things Nina. It was so intense, and everything happened really fast.”
— BET (@BET) November 7, 2015
As for the problems behind the scenes, Saldana said the following.
“The people behind the project weren’t my cup of tea. The director was fine, but there was a lot of mismanagement, which is why we’re still here three years later. And I’m still trying to fight with everybody to get the movie finished. Nina deserves better.”
As for the negative comments she received on the Internet, Saldana said she tried her best to ignore them.
Back in February of 2013, she made the following statement.
“I guess what kept me from being hurt by the negative comments was that I’m doing it for my sistas and my brothas and I don’t care who tells me I’m not this or I’m not that, I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me.”
As stated, Nina Simone’s daughter wasn’t happy with the casting of the film and didn’t provide any support to the production. She had a lot to say about the endeavor.
“The one actress that I’ve had in my heart for a very long time, whose work I’m familiar with already, is Kimberly Elise. Many people have spoken to me about Viola. I love her look. I love her energy. Both of the actresses that I’ve mentioned are women of color, are women with beautiful, luscious lips and wide noses, and who know their craft.”
If Saldana was unhappy about the process, she only gave a hint about her feelings back in June during an In Style interview. At the time, the actress said she didn’t feel as though she was right for the role in the end. That said, she went on to say that she didn’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra, either, which is an iconic role that Taylor was known for. Perhaps, the actress is hoping that she will overcome the criticism in the end.
As for the release date, the last rumblings of a date were back in May when the Hollywood Reporter announced that the film was set for an end of the year release. Films that come out during this last quarter of the year were announced early in the summer, as many gear up for awards season. For now, it looks like this movie is shelved.
[Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images]