Ealing Metro, the production company behind Cynthia Mort's Nina Simone project will be on hand at the ongoing American Film Market (AFM), to generate buyer interest in its upcoming slate of films, which includes, in addition to Mort's film, the adaptation of Half Of A Yellow Sun, where a promo will be shown to attending participants.
And with that piece of AFM news, I confirmed that Mort's film will simply be called Nina, and an actress by the name of Ella Thomas has been cast to play Lorraine Hansberry in the film.
Hansberry and Simone were said to be very close friends; in fact, Nina's To Be Young, Gifted and Black, was named after Hansberry's work of the same name.
You'll also remember Vanessa's review of the script, which states that Hansberry appears in the film during the 1960s, in Harlem, when:
Simone and Hansbury are “drinking and hanging.” Hansbury encourages Nina to sing and play the piano for her.
The film is currently in production.
I should once again note that Ealing is a UK-based company; this is NOT a Hollywood studio production. Ealing will likely distribute the film in the UK; but its presence at the AFM suggests that the company is there hoping to generate interest in the film from distributors outside the UK – notably here in the USA.
Nina stars Zoe Saldana, Mike Epps, David Oyelowo, and Kevin Mambo, with Mark Burton, Barnaby Thompson, Stuart Parr and Ben Latham Jones producing.
Ella Thomas' resume comprises of a lot of TV work, with roles in NCIS: Los Angeles, All My Children, Castle, CSI, and more; on the big screen, she appeared in Surrogates with Bruce Willis and Boris Kodjoe.
I should note that it's good to know that a promo of Half Of A Yellow Sun will screen for buyers at AFM – it's without an American distributor currently as well. I wish I was present to see the footage firsthand, and share here. Maybe it'll eventually be uploaded to the web.