Nina Simone fans cried foul last week when it was revealed that Mary J. Blige had dropped out of the lead role in a Nina Simone biopic and had been replaced by Latin actress Zoe Saldana. Now, Simone’s daughter, Lisa “Simone” Kelly (born Lisa Celeste Stroud), has weighed in on the matter.
In a lengthy Facebook post on her mother’s fan page, Kelly claims that film is unauthorized and that her family hasn’t participated in the production of the film.
“When the announcement initially hit the press with MJ Blige cast as Nina (about 6 years ago) I heard it along with everyone else. The story was written as a love story between my mother and her former nurse Clifton Henderson, and primarily takes place during the last eight years of her life,” said Kelly.
“Please note, this project is unauthorized. The Nina Simone Estate was never asked permission, nor invited to participate,” she added.
Kelly also talks about Saldana’s casting, implying that she has another A-List actress in mind to play her mother.
“I have seen many names regarding who you think should play the role of Nina. Remember Angela Bassett as Tina Turner? SHE NAILED IT! Angela Bassett is an ACTRESS! And, we all know she lip synced along with Tina and did an amazing job,” said Simone. “Personally, I prefer an actress to a singer. Just because a person is great at one does not mean they will be great at the other. If written, funded and CAST PROPERLY a movie about my mother will make a lasting imprint.”
Kelly then made a shocking revelation about the her mother’s relationship with Henderson, one that completely undermines the plot of the planned biopic.
“Clifton Henderson was gay. He was not attracted to women. So, the truth is…Nina Simone and Clifton Henderson NEVER had a relationship other than a business one,” she said, adding, “Please correct me, but isn’t a biopic the story of one’s life?”
Read the rest of Kelly’s post here and check out some other unauthorized and troubled biopics below. – nicholas robinson