Zoe Saldana was spotted in makeup as songstress Nina Simone yesterday for her unauthorized biopic. Saldana has remained relatively quiet about taking on the role of the icon but that hasn’t stopped others from voicing their disappointment, namely Simone’s own daughter Lisa Celeste Stroud – she now goes by the name Simone.
During an interview in August with Ebony magazine Simone revealed her perfect choice would be “Woman Thou Art Loosed” actress Kimberly Elise.
“I love Zoe Saldana’s work. I’ve seen some of her movies more than once and really enjoy what she brings to the screen. As an actress I respect her process, but I also know that there are many actresses out there, known or not, who would be great as my mother. 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. I also have no problem introducing someone we’ve never heard of before who can play my mother.”
After Saldana’s onset photo surfaced, the backlash was reignited. One commenter stated,
“It really disgusts me how this biopic is being made. Not only in casting Zoe, but in completely sidestepping the family and trying to profit off of this incredible woman’s legacy. I can rattle off a bunch of actresses that would have fit the part including Viola Davis. Jill Scott, Kimberly Elise, Anika Noni Rose, and Alfre Woodard. But no, they wanted to pick up Zoe Saldana’s famished arse, slap on some clay arse makeup and a party city wig and call her Nina. I am not surprised one bit. That’s hollywood for ya!”
It remains to be seen what will come of the film. Do you expect Zoe Saldana to pull off the role as Nina Simone?