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Zoe Saldana Takes The Lead In Nina Simone Biopic ‘Nina’

Zoe Saldana Takes The Lead In Nina Simone Biopic 'Nina'

Update: THR reports that Saldana will indeed be taking the lead role in “Nina” as the iconic singer, Nina Simone. David Oyelowo is still on board, production begins October 16th.

The seemingly forever-developing Nina Simone biopic is still moving, though it has been quite a while since there was been any substantial news. Way back in 2010, Mary J. Blige signed on for the lead with David Oyelowo to co-star, but very little happened since, and as with most projects involving musicians and estates, we figured various entanglements were holding it up. Well, whatever has been going on, it seems there is some movement.

IOTG reports that Zoe Saldana is now up for a role in “Nina,” though that’s about all the info there is at the moment. “The Brave One” writer Cynthia Mort is writing and directing the project about the legendary jazz musician and civil rights activist whose songs captured the mood of a nation and community (“Mississippi Goddamn,” “To Be Young Gifted And Black”), and an artist who really stood in a class of her own. But of all the interesting moments in her life to focus on, “Nina” will curiously center on the relationship with her assistant Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo) that she maintained later in life. Again, it’s a bit baffling when the story of her rise from a Juilliard-trained pianist, who ended up playing Atlantic City clubs and never really thought about singing, into one of the most influential and empowering performers of her era is the stuff that seems more suited to a film. Though we reckon that perhaps some kind of flashback structure will be used.

It’s not clear if Saldana is taking over the lead (Blige seems to have exited), and she would be an odd choice, so we wonder if Saldana is portraying Simone, aka Lisa Celeste Stroud, the musician’s daughter. The ages line up about right — Stroud was just over 30 years old when her mother passed away — but again, we’ll see. At any rate, we’re glad to see this one is still kicking around, but no word how much closer it is to getting made. [IOTG]

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David Britsoulman

What makes matter worse…the script for this so-called biopic is based on lies. I knew Nina (from when I was a teenager in London in the '60s until shortly before she passed) and I met Clifton, who was obviously and openly gay! The idea that they could have had a romance is patently absurd and ridiculous and I speak as someone who knew and met both of them. Anyone who ever met Clifton was aware that he was gay and in my last dinner with Nina, she was ridiculing him and even saying such! I've heard of stretching the truth but this is just plain LIES!

Nic Nok

Okay…I like Zoe and all but this is a No No! Whats next Alicia Keys as Mahalia Jackson? Justin Timberlake as Dizzy Gillespie? Queen Latifah as Barbara Streisand? Just saying we know its all acting but lets be realistic! Please somebody call Viola Davis or Lauryn Hill and tell them their is an emergency in Hollywood casting! STAT!


I don't think Zoe is a good fit for the role as well. Nina beautiful darker complexion, pronounced features and wonderful complex character should not be downplayed. HOWEVER, this minority versus minority thing needs to stop. If you don't know the history about the African Diaspora then please do the knowledge. Zoe is Dominican and is a black woman. Take that same energy exuding towards someone being "light" or "mixed race" and aim it towards Hollywood. Besides, when was the last time you took test to analyze your heritage. You'd be surprised at how genetics getcha. Hollywood has been always been on that bull**** and we all know it. From whitewashing, stereotypes of minorities, to flat out racism in movies. Watch your tongue because it simply shows ignorance when focusing on the wrong entity.


This is disgusting and so vile and abhorrent that a mixed race Hispanic is being chosen for a role meant for a black American actress! Hollywood always does this, they chose the lighter skinned women who are biracial or mixed race for prominent Hollywood film roles. No wonder some darker skinned black actresses are upset when the likes of Zoe Saldana, Paula Patton, and Halle Berry take roles meant for authentic black women.

Zoe isn't even that good an actress she hasn't proven herself this is so sick and disappointing.

Ms. Contrary

Denzel portrayed Malcolm and looked nothing like him? And Cicely Tyson did an excellent job portraying Coretta Scott King. Its a little annoying that black people think people must have the same complexion in order to portray someone in film. If you are a good actor/actress you will embody the character and make the audience believe in your performance. Angela Basset looks nothing like Tina Turner but she nailed her portrayl of "Etta Mae".


I like Zoe, but this role is not suitable for her. There are some great black actresses out there that I think should be considered. For example, Sanna Lathan, Angela Bassett, Regina King, and sooo many more. Please don't ruin a movie with bad casting. Nina is an icon! At least cast someone who favors her and who can sing. I guess only time will tell. Perhaps Zoe can and will pull it off.


This is SHAMEFUL! If Zoe is selected/cast to play the part of Nina Simone, we cannot allow HOLLYWOOD to change the faces of our black artisans! This woman may be a good actress (Colombiana was the shit!), HOWEVER, it is PAINFULLY OBVIOUS that she is NOT the face of Nina Simone, and there are plenty of actresses who can play this role well! Its actually disrespectful that she would even try out for this role!

Ivory Metal

This would be an insult for Zoe to play Nina who often and regularly complained her darker complexion, full lips and nose were unacceptable to the mainstream and therefore kept her form greater commercial succes than her artistry earned. Most who've heard her perform or read her books know this!!!


This role should go to Adepero Oduye. She's an excellent actress from the movie Pariah. She was even shouted out by the great Meryl Streep on the Golden Globes for her great work, plus she can sing. Zoe better be in a side role. I've started a petition against her casting of Nina. That would just be wrong. Here's a link for Adepero.

Josh Iowa

That role should go to fantasia…


I think Zoe can do it. She's a great actress; but yet I had imagined it to be played by someone else. Zoe is a bad chick, shes meant to be with guns lol


Zoe's hot but….her as Nina simone?


Why do you guys report stuff from It's On the Grid? They aren't reliable and it hurts your reputation.

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