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Director of Nina Simone Biopic Files Lawsuit Against Film’s Production Company

nina simone zoe saldanaThe highly anticipated Nina Simone biopic, “Nina,” is set to make its debut during a screening at this year’s annual Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, but a new lawsuit filed by the film’s director, Cynthia Mort, is the latest source of controversy for the film.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mort filed a motion in Los Angeles Superior Court against the film’s production company, Ealing Studios Enterprises Limited, alleging a breach of the terms outlined in her contract as director, which reportedly affected the filmmaker’s decision-making on the project.

“She worked tirelessly to prepare the Film for a wide and successful commercial release,” according to the lawsuit. “Yet, throughout the course of the Film’s production and post-production, Defendants consistently acted to frustrate Mort’s involvement in the Film, thereby breaching the Director Agreement. These breaches by the Defendants include, but are not limited to: taking complete control of editing the Film in June 2013 and failing to consult with Mort about subsequent cuts and changes; abandoning Mort’s previous cuts of the Film; failing to disclose the Film’s financials, finishing budget, and financing deals; and failing to keep Mort informed of other crucial creative and budgetary developments and decisions throughout production and post-production of the Film.”

The film chronicling the life of the late jazz icon was also engulfed in controversy surrounding the casting of Zoe Saldana, which led to a petition requesting the replacement of the Afro-Latina actress with “an actress who actually looks like Nina Simone.”

The “Avatar” star responded to the widespread backlash during a 2013 pre-Oscar event, where she shared her thoughts on the negative comments.

“The reality is what keeps me focused and what kept me from, I guess, getting stressed or being hurt by the comments is that I’m doing it for my sisters,” she said. “I’m doing it for my brothers. I don’t care who tells me that I am not this and I am not that. I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me. So that is my truth and that set me free.”


What people are saying

11 thoughts on “Director of Nina Simone Biopic Files Lawsuit Against Film’s Production Company

  1. Its no disrespect to you as a actor Zoe however, lets be focus and clear, you seemly don't look like NIna at all, and its difficult putting myself in the frame of mind that I'm embracing Nina's spirit. It sound as if didn't matter who played the part, as long as the film was made…be real, would you want "Whoppi Goldberg doing your "BioPic???

  2. Dee Rae says:

    the fact that they had to add color to this girl Zoe to even look like Nina makes me want to vomit when as you have all stated we have black and beautiful sisters who could take on this role.The sister ANIKA ROSE from Colored girls, dream girls and the princess frog she sing and dances naturally deep brown skin just sick.

  3. Shawn Mc says:

    maybe she tried out and it didn't work out. I don't think you have to look exactly like the person to create a great biopic

  4. Shawn Mc says:

    umm thats every actor.

  5. So by your standards Shawn, no one should be looked up to because you don't know what anyone "do in their private lives". You come off a Lil misogynistic, by saying black women shouldn't find inspiration in other black women….because we all know the perfect lives "black men's inspiration" lived. I'm just saying, trying listening before speaking. And downplaying "blackfacing" because you don't want to jump to conclusion might help you sleep at night but being honest with watering down a character for Hollywood is all about. If there was a list of dark-skinned actresses that auditioned for the role, surely they would have said something by now?!

  6. Shawn, ur problem is generalization. I can't even respond to that because not only do i not "worship" or obsess over these women, I, as a black woman, don't obsess over anyone. seriously, grow up

  7. Shawn Mc says:

    i wasn't in the casting room so i don't know who auditioned but no actor goes out for a role and announce "I didn't get it" .
    hey i generalized only because i seen so many post of sisters upset over a portrayal, hell denzel didn't look like Malcolm yet there wasn't a constant uproar because content was more important.

  8. Shawn Mc says:

    Quincy DaInfantry Douglas Quincy DaInfantry Douglas
    hey quince you can draw inspiration from any person or thing but we must make sure that content is what inspires us and not superficial unless thats what you want

    when i use to work out i would look at the muscle mags for inspiration, i didn't care what the athletes were thinking ,
    when i read about Alexander the great or Hannibal their conquest inspires me, i want to know what they are thinking.

    this Nina thing is all superficial and no one wants to tell the truth as to why they want a lookalike so bad.
    are we portraying ourselves in these characters again

  9. I understand what you are saying, but the content of the figure the bio-pic is about, this woman Nina Simone was against the preferential treatment of light-skinned vs dark skinned black people. So to cast her as a light skinned woman with dark paint her is a direct slap to her face and what she stood for. I'm pretty sure this bio-pic is more than Nina Simone playing music, so her life's beliefs and struggles have to be taken into consideration when choosing. The message that light skinned shouldn't get preferential treatment over dark skinned gets watered down if not obliterated if it is a light skinned actress playing a dark skinned woman. That part you can't deny.

  10. first of all, that's the stupidest explanation for generalizing I've ever heard. second, ur completely ignoring good points being made about the fact that Nina had certain obstacles she had to over come as a dark skinned woman n hiring a half black very light skinned woman to play her would upset even Nina since it was something she fought against fervently, the film makers obviously acknowledged this since they chose to darken zoe's skinwith makeup. third, if u honestly believe denzel wasn't a perfect fit for Malcolm ur in denial. it's about at least trying to b authentic which they didn't care about. i felt the same way about Halle berry playing storm because they didn't even try to b authentic, which is important in issues like this because dark skinnned blacks r so under represented n misused n looked down on. That's y it matters because moves like these negate everything dark skinned blacks have had to endure and overcome. it's an insult.

  11. Omar Cuba says:

    Shawn Mc Of course a virtual look alike doesn't have to be cast for the the role, but at least a similar skin tone would make more sense Zoe should have known better. Would you cast Wesley Snipes to play Smokey Robinson in a biopic of Smokey's life.

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