When filmmaker Cynthia Mort announced that she was writing and directing a Nina Simone biopic, Nina Simone’s own daughter, Simone, pretty much blew a fart at it, because the family was never asked to participate. The Nina Simone Estate didn’t put their stamp of approval on Cynthia Mort’s movie. Simone and The Nina Simone Estate made it clear that they would rather see a Nina Simone biopic made with LEGOS than see Cynthia Morton’s Nina Simone biopic. Then when it was announced that Zoe Saldana was playing Nina Simone, Simone really rolled her eyes into a double side-eye. Simone told Ebony Magazine that when she thinks of actresses who should play her mom, she doesn’t think of Zoe Saldana.
I love Zoe Saldana’s work. I’ve seen some of her movies more than once and really enjoy what she brings to the screen. As an actress I respect her process, but I also know that there are many actresses out there, known or not, who would be great as my mother. The one actress that I’ve had in my heart for a very long time, whose work I’m familiar with already, is Kimberly Elise. Many people have spoken to me about Viola. I love her look. I love her energy. Both of the actresses that I’ve mentioned are women of color, are women with beautiful, luscious lips and wide noses, and who know their craft. I also have no problem introducing someone we’ve never heard of before who can play my mother.
Simone said this back in August and now here’s pictures of Zoe as Nina on the Los Angeles set of that mess of a movie this past Friday. Somebody should check on Simone, because she probably just side-eyed so hard that several vessels popped and she might need medical attention. Did they really need to put Zoe in black(er) face and throw a prosthetic nose on her? Even Zoe Saldana is making a face like she knows this was a bad idea. It’s the same face I make when a trick I just met on Craigslist opens his apartment door and I realize the picture he sent me was taken 30 years ago. I should’ve gotten the hint when the picture was a scan of a Polaroid.