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Worst Casting Choice for Biopic Ever? Zoe Saldana to Play Nina Simone


Zoe Saldana Being Blasted for Nina Simone Biopic 

A biopic detailing the life of a famed African American singer-songwriter is coming under fire after the lead role has been handed to a woman who looks nothing like the songstress. Producers for the upcoming movie Nina, a biopic about Nina Simone, announced this week that Zoe Saldana woud take on the role of the iconic singer when filming begins this October. Indie Wire reports that Saldana, 34, will play the lead role instead of Mary J. Blige, who’s been attached to the film for years. Actor David Oyelowo will star as Nina’s manager, Clifton Henderson, in the movie based on Nina’s 1992 autobiographI Put A Spell On You. Mark Burton, Barnaby Thompson, Stuart Parr and Ben Latham Jones are the producers of the film.

After news broke that Saldana, a woman of Afro-Latina descent, was taking on the role, a petition titled ‘Replace Zoe Saldana With An Actress Who Actually Looks Like Nina Simone’ began to circulate online. Calling her casting ‘bulls—,” organizers are accusing producers of trying to “whitewash”the film by casting an attractive lighter complexioned woman as lead.

“It is without a doubt straight up disrespectful to Ms. Simone and her legacy to get an actress who looks nothing like she did to portray her in a movie about her life,” say the petitioners. “Getting light-complexioned actors to play the roles of dark-complexioned historical figures is not only a sign of blatant disrespect to the persons they are portraying, but it is also disrespectful to their families, to history, to the people who look like the persons being whitewashed, and to the intelligence of the audience.”

Besides Zoe’s fair complexion, the actress’s experience is also coming under scrutiny.

“The pure talent needed to submerge oneself into the innermost essences of … Simone requires an actress whom [sic] can emotionally articulate a mesmerizing life of disappointments, love and grace, artistic humilation, self-claimed regality, and unsung fortune we call Ms Nina Simone,” wrote a petitioner online.

So far the petition has 601 supporters. Viola Davis, India Arie and Adepero Oduye have all been named by petitioners as possible replacements.

What are your thoughts? Is Zoe’s casting blatant whitewashing or should we give the proud Latina a shot?

Check out side by side comparisons of Saldana and Simone below. –danielle canada

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  1. Medical on August 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Plus, Zoe dates white guys,this is the real reason for the objections.

    • disappointment on August 28, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      no one cares who she dates… its deeper than that.

      • Charma on November 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm

        Thank you. Hell it was the SOUL of Nina she doesn’t posses it. Part of Nina’s plight was to show beauti in her Africaness. She dared to say and prove I am beautiful you don’t define me. And she was that…beautiful. Zoe lacks artistic integrity if she really researched Nina and understood that how she looked had much to do with who she was…NINA was BAD to to bone for her understanding the importance of expressing her beauti.Black and Proud….Zoe doen’t really claim black.

  2. SherriEtienne on August 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Tat is bull, but Zoe is Hollywood’s “Go To” black girl now! Tika Sumpter, although unseasoned would be a better choice than Zoe Saldana. Viola Davis would make a great older Nina and India Arie (if she can act) would be great as well. However, if Liz Taylor and Angelina Jolie can play Cleopatra and David Carradine an asian Kung Fu Master, I guess Zoe Saldana can play Nina Simone. SMDH…

  3. Charma on November 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Zoe doesn’t have to willingly remain blind to
    it or take part in it. She doesn’t exist within a vacuum. It’s called artistic
    integrity and she is being held accountable, as she should be. She is not
    neutral in this simply because she’s an actor and is doing her “job.”

    She could’ve had the decency to have enough insight about Nina Simone to
    decline the job
    By Aaron great post.