Seeking—Young Nina Simone: girl, 8-11, African-American, must look like a young Nina, talented, able to play the piano with ease, grace, and guts, a tough cookie who has something to show the world.
The above was from a casting notice I received via email, for the still untitled Nina Simone project that Cynthia Mort is writing and directing, and that will star Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo.
Further, here’s how the project is described within the casting notice:
“It tells the story of a legendary great soul singer, Nina Simone, and her relationship with her manager Clifton. It is not strictly a biopic but rather a portrait of an icon whose talent and passion took the world by storm. She was an iconic musician but also a woman who represented ‘women’ in their quest to be heard and appreciated equally. Nina’s talent was huge and like many artists, her inner demons also shaped her life and career.”
This pretty much supports what Cynthia Mort suggested in a previous post – that this isn’t going to be your traditional biopic, and she’s taking creative liberties in the retelling of Simone’s story; or rather, we could say it’s inspired by Simone’s life, and isn’t necessarily an literal translation of it.
So maybe something along the lines of Todd Haynes’ Bob Dylan film, I’m Not There; or even Don Cheadle’s proposed Miles Davis film, which he’s described as a “cubist gangster pic,” with emphasis on avant-garde, as in innovative and/or experimental, which speaks to hints he’s given previously about it not being a traditional “cradle to grave story…”
I have no idea what to expect here, other than a film that likely will not be what we conventionally think of as a biopic. But it’s moving full speed ahead, whether you like it or not, so, at this point, I’m just going to wait and see what Mort produces, whenever the film is done.
As the description above states, casting director Heidi Levitt, and casting associate Lauren Fernandes are seeking a young 8 to 11-year-old African American girl to play Nina Simone as a child.
That’s very much in-line with the script Vanessa reviewed, which mentioned several flashbacks to Simone’s childhood.