Nina Simone

Nina Simone Biopic

A Nina Simone biopic has been in the works for years now, with Cynthia Mort set to direct from her own script since 2005, and singer Mary J. Blige once attached for the lead role that has now apparently gone to Zoe Saldana – but those elapsed years and that major casting shuffle appear to be the least of the film’s worries, as Simone’s own daughter has now stepped forward to not only refute the very basis of the film, but to poke some major holes into the production’s casting. Over at Shadow and Act, the team has been carefully putting together a number of posts about the situation that are fascinating on their own (and that I have been eagerly following), but that are also kicking off incredibly interesting (and, frankly, sometimes unsettling) discussions in the comment sections. On the most basic level, fans of Simone appear to be quite displeased with the casting of Saldana in the role (with reasons varying from her looks, her ethnicity, her age, and her talent level), and a number of other names have come up as being far more suitable for the role – actresses like Viola Davis, Lauryn Hill, Anika Noni Rose, and Adepero Oduye, among others. Yet, beyond just the casting (one that appears to have been done, at least partially, to get the once financially-strapped productions some big name juice), the film’s very script appears to be fundamentally flawed – because it just might hinge on a fabrication. Simone’s […]

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Two more projects based on real-life icons are emerging from the fold. According to The Grid, Zoe Saldana is set to play Nina Simone in Nina – a biopic about the famed singer and civil rights activist. The biggest challenge, of course, will be trying to recreate such a rich singing voice, but it’s unclear as to whether the plan is to have the actress perform the music herself or to lip-sync. Saldana will next be seen in The Words, the forthcoming Star Trek sequel, and a handful of dramatic projects like Out of the Furnace. On the same front, Robert Pattinson will be portraying T.E. Lawrence for Werner Herzog according to Variety. As we’ve reported before, the certifiably (and wonderfully) insane director has been prepping Queen of the Desert – a biopic of traveler Gertrude Bell. Pattinson will be portraying Lawrence, who was a close friend of Bell’s – further solidifying his goal of picking left-field projects after gaining popularity in the Twilight series. Without a doubt, his casting represents a tacit challenge to Herzog to out-weird the birth of a half-human/half-vampire baby on screen. If anyone can do it, he probably already has.

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