Zoe Saldana has been cast to play the leading role in Nina Simone’s biopic. The casting wasn’t met without some disdain and a bit of protest, some saying that she just can’t be Nina and that she is too light-skinned for the role.
Writer and director Cynthia Mort notes that the film will simply be a telling of the singer’s love story and not a “by-the-book” retelling of her life.
“There’s a difference between telling a story that include and involves emotion and experiences and doing a biopic – she was born here, she did this, she did that,” Mort explained to the NY Times. “There is also a great story, but that’s not what we’re telling in that kind of linear fashion.”
In the meantime, Nina’s daughter, who simply goes by Simone, expressed her disappointment with the process of the film casting and story telling. She complained that neither she nor her family was consulted.
“As a child, my mother was told her nose was too big and she was too dark,” Simone said.
Further, she noted that the man who is scheduled to be Nina’s love interest was actually gay, and never had a romantic relationship with her mother.
Mike Epps is also set to play Richard Pryor in the biopic.