Zoe Saldana may as well have been public enemy No. 1, last year, when she found herself at the center of controversy over her casting as Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic about the iconic singer. Since the controversy erupted, Saldana has remained silent about the subject. But now Saldana is finally speaking out and explaining how she wouldn’t allow herself to be overtaken by critics.
“I guess what kept me from being hurt by the negative comments was that I’m doing it for my sisters and my brothers,” she said in an interview with Hip Hollywood. “And I don’t care who tells me I’m not this or I’m not that. I know who I am, and I know what Nina Simone means to me.”
Since new broke that Saldana would be playing Simone, critics has argued that Saldana is too light-skinned to play a dark-skinned woman like Simone, especially since much of Simone’s art was about having pride in her dark skin. Critics have also claimed that Saldana looks nothing like Simone — which is true — and that actors like Adepero Oduye, India Arie or the film’s original star, Mary J. Blige, should have played her. Although we honestly question whether Blige or Arie could carry such a role.
However, Saldana says that she’s proud to have gotten the role and she did it out of love for Simone.
“Nina was like that too,” she explained. “I did it all out of love; Out of love for Nina. Out of love for my people and who I am. And my pride of being a black woman and a Latina woman and an American woman, and that’s my truth.”
Saldana’s feelings are all well and good, but it’s impossible to overlook the fact that the movie is still partially based around a supposed love affair between Nina and her former manager, Clifton Henderson, which Nina’s daughter refuted because he is gay. A biopic, though based around a lie, may allow Saldana to speak her truth as an actress, but it denies Simone of her truth and it’s hard to see any honor in allowing only bits and pieces of Simone’s real life to shine through in an obvious attempt to sell a blockbuster hit instead of a true biopic.
However, this isn’t the only biopic that has suffered from criticism. Check out some others below. –nicholas robinson