Truthfully, this should be filed under today’s That-Ish-Cray Of The Day, but those are usually kind of funny and there is nothing funny about this. Okay y’all. Bear with me while I get my rant on. Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek, Drumline with Nick Cannon) is playing jazz legend Nina ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ Simone in an upcoming biopic????!!!!! Oh. Hell. No! ((deep breath)) Okay, I am so on my Emma Clark (the Twihard) ish right now. If I had the balls to make a YouTube account, oh the things that I would say! Lol, okay but seriously. No. Zoe Saldana is great. She’s cute. She’s funny (or something). She’s done some good work. However. Nina Simone… is… probably… a god. Or at least, if god could sing… she would totally try to sing like Nina Simone. That’s just, like, a scientific fact. Click inside for deets on this ridiculous news and more [not so]scientific facts from me about life, love, and light-skinned girls.
Indiewire has the
Sooo… last we reported on this project, it had been financed to the tune of $10 million, had been cast (Mary J. Blige & David Oyelowo in the starring roles), and was booked to start filming at the end of May last year, much to the chagrin of a lot of you folks.
That obviously DID NOT happen, as was initially reported.
Why? It had to be delayed until October, because, as you may recall, Mary J Blige later signed on to co-star in Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise and the rest of that film’s cast.
I tend to get a little worried about projects that, at first, are announced as sure-things, and then get pushed around for one reason or another, no matter how valid.
Skip ahead to earlier today, around mid-day, when S&A reader Akimbo posted a comment on an old Nina Simone post saying that Zoe Saldana had taken over for Mary J, but without a source link.
That’s a rumor I’d heard previously, but didn’t want to post until I had further confirmation. After Akimbo’s comment, I was able to verify via 2 separate sources (1 a crew member who is attached to work on the project), that Zoe Saldana is attached to star as Nina Simone in the same film that has long been in development, with Cynthia Mort, whose credits include writing and producing several episodes of popular TV series like Roseanne and Will And Grace, still listed as the screenwriter and director of the project.
If you recall, the film will focus on Simone’s relationship with Paris-based manager Clifton Henderson who will be played by Oyelowo.
Still no official announcement just yet; however, if my sources are correct, and this actually moves forward, I’d need some convincing that Zoe Saldana can embody Nina Simone. The choice makes little sense to me.
OMG. I am sooo about to embarrass myself on this post, I can feel it! I just cannot remain professional in the wake of this news. I have to keep it real with y’all.
LMAO. See? I’m so mad I can’t even keep it politically correct for like two seconds. But there is just no other explanation for this, given the other options for this role. Here are some suggestion for the lead role in the Nina Simone biopic from the interweb, where hella people are joining me in my rage against the machine (shouts-out):
1. Viola friggen Davis
2. Adepero Oduye (I’ve seen her work, but not her major roles in films; according to Indiewire, she would have killed)
3. Lauryn Hill (who may have some uh scheduling/prison conflicts, but yes would have been great)
4. Erykah Badu (if you want to go the singer/non-actress route)
5. Anika Noni Rose
6. Sanaa Lathan
The list goes on. And here’s one of my fave comments from Indiewire:
Why don’t they ask Kim Kardashian to play Nina Simone!
Now, here’s the tricky part. People are really (like, even more than me) flipping out and some of the comments are turning into disrespectful statements against Nina Simone– i.e. Zoe’s too pretty to play Nina. And that kind of thinking is a part of the problem here. That the general public (and I’m guilty of this way of thinking as well) finds Zoe to be, eternally, prettier than Nina Simone and the aforementioned women (Viola Davis, Lauryn Hill, etc.).
Although the obvious thing to do is to talk about skin color and physical appearance (none of us can figure out why else Zoe would be chosen), true fans of Nina Simone are more angry about how the political energy of the singer and civil rights activist will be portrayed and even negated by this casting choice. Someone went so far as to share a (not-so-flattering) quote from Nina Simone about racial mixing and her choice to never straighten her hair and things like that. One of the points being that the same mentality that contributes to Zoe Saldana getting this role is the very thing Nina Simone fought against.
I should stress that my knowledge of Nina Simone is very limited, compared to many others, especially my African American Women’s History prof. (who I know is flipping out too, lol); she got her PhD studying Nina Simone and her contemporaries so what little I know I got from her. And I used to put Ne Me Quitte Pas on repeat while doing my French homework. That’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge; but I still know that this is not good news.
Okay, rant complete! Your thoughts???
Oh, and here are some of the images other sites are using to tell this story; I think it’s interesting…
And one more, for the road…