Zoe Saldana has decided to joined the Nina Simone biopic, Nina.
Mary J. Blige was previously attached to star as Simone but has opted out of the project. Up until this past June, Blige was still slated to play in the movie. In an interview, she spoke about the film’s delay saying, “It’s in a holding pattern. I don’t really have anything to tell you, except for that right now.” Now, the R&B star has been removed from the casting list, and Saldana has reportedly stepped in to play the leading role of the jazz singer.
Nina is based on Simone’s 1992 autobiography “I Put A Spell On You”, which told the story of Simone’s relationship with her assistant, Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo), that occurred in her later years.
Nina originally planned a career as a classical pianist, but was denied a scholarship to Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute Of Music because she was black. Dubbed the high priestess of soul, she rose to fame as a jazz singer and became a prominent member of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Her song “To Be Young, Gifted And Black” was an anthem of the movement. The Sinnerman star stopped paying taxes in the US as a protest against the Vietnam War, which made her an exile from the States in her later life. To avoid arrest, she settled in Barbados where she had a long relationship with its Prime Minister Errol Barrow. The singer also lived in Liberia, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and died in the South of France in 2003 (Wiki).
The upcoming project is based out of Ealing Studios in the UK. More details on the start date coming soon…