Even before the first scene was shot for Nina, the biopic of the late jazz musician and classical pianist Nina Simone, the film faced harsh criticism for the casting of actress Zoe Saldana in the lead role. There is even a petition on Change.org calling for the boycott of the film.
The controversy over this casting is still at a fever pitch because Nina Simone was dark-skinned with broad features — and Saldana is not. The singer was known for speaking out against colorism, the practice of favoring lighter-skinned Blacks over darker ones. So many critics are outraged that Saldana, a Latina actress who has wavered about her Black racial identity — won the role.
In light of the Zoe Saldana-Nina Simone controversy, there are other questionable casting decisions that deserve their fair share of scrutiny. Here are five of them.
Cuba Gooding Jr. as Radio
Radio is a 2003 film directed by Mike Tollin that is based on the true story of T. L. Hanna High School football coach Harold Jones (Ed Harris) and a mentally challenged young man James Effinhimer Robert “Radio” Kennedy, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Once a promising A-lister, Gooding has nosedived into the D-lister territory. The “Oscar curse” may be to blame, or it could be bad career choices such as the films Boat Trip, Snow Dogs, Chill Factor, and Radio.
In Radio, the award-winning actor chose to do the exact career-ending act Tropic Thunder character Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) advised all actors not to do: “go full retard.”
At the time of the film’s release, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle criticized Gooding’s performance, saying “In Radio, Cuba Gooding Jr. falls victim to the Nell syndrome, in which a vibrant, loquacious actor decides that the road to an Oscar nomination is to wear a slack expression and a set of Nutty Professor teeth.”
5 thoughts on “5 of the Worst Casting Decisions Other Than Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone”
Gabbyj West yeah but why take a lighter girl and do a blackface on her? disrespect.
Cuba played the hell out of Radio and once you see the real Radio in motion at the end of the movie you see how respectful and on point Cuba was when he did the role. Yeah some of the other movies may not have been the best choices but bad acting and bad movies aren't the same thing. An actor can only do so much. The rest is up to the writers, directors, and camera crew. It's fucked up dude is penalized for attempting to be a real and well rounded actor. Was he supposed to just stick to thug roles or something? Cuba is and always will be the man. From his role in Coming to america to Radio I've never been disappointed. Hell, Bruce Willis does some of the most fucked up and ludicrous movies of all times but you don't see his ass on the D-list.
This really makes no sense. The world sees light and damn near white as right. Finally getting the chance to see that idea turned on it's head, especially to play such an important man, was a helluva breath of fresh air. Shit I'm still holding in that breath. If you can't see the problem with the lighter shades being put in the forefront then something is wrong with your perception. I'd love to see another Esther Rolle get put on tv or movies. Count the amount of dark skinned people on tv and get back to me. While you're at it count the times you see dark skin men with white women in commercials or whatever then count the white men with dark skinned women and after you do that make one more category for the lighter skinned black chicks who are paired with the white dudes. Everywhere you look society tells you the lighter the better. Give me a star with Idi Amin's complexion any day. If we're lucky we can get some natural hair stars. It's sad to see black women with straight hair. Self-hatred is running rampant and so far thanks to Madame CJ Walker our people may never get right 100%.
I didn't realize who Zoe whatever was until i did a search. That bitch should never have been picked for a role like this. Does she even like black people? Every time I see her in something she's fuckin white dudes. There are women who fit the physical description and who have way more talent. This is just some bullshit. We may as well go back to segregation.
Damn Fool Idi Amin? You do realize that man actually ate people right???? Number 2, Zoe is not light and bright, she is brown. This pic was her idea to do, and as a member of the African Diaspora she has every right to do it.