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Zoe Saldana/Nina Simone Bio-Pic Shopped To Distributors At Cannes Film Market As Director Files Lawsuit

Zoe Saldana/Nina Simone Bio-Pic Shopped To Distributors At Cannes Film Market As Director Files Lawsuit

So you remember that Nina Simone biopic that Zoe Saldana is starring in?
The one that everyone was all up in arms about over her casting? Well, finally it’s going to see the light
of day, this week, at the Cannes Film
(Marche du Film), where it’ll be screened for 
potential international distributors.

However, one person who almost certainly won’t be present, is the director of the film, Cynthia Mort, who is none-too-happy about developments
regarding the production of the film, and she has now taken legal action.

In fact, according to The Hollywood Reporter (HERE), Mort
filed a lawsuit this week, against the British producer of the film, Ealing Studios Enterprises Limited,
claiming that the company effectively cut Mort out of the decision making
process during production, and, as a result, she is not at all happy with the version which
is about to be screened for distributors.

According to the lawsuit, Mort had rights over the
developing picture and “got
approval over the final shooting script, the cast and crew, the line
producer, the designer and all department head as well as consulting rights on advertising,
distribution, shooting schedule and budget.

However, as the suit further states, throughout the course of the film’s production and post-production, defendants
consistently acted to frustrate Mort’s involvement in the film, thereby
breaching the Director Agreement. 
These breaches by the Defendants include, but are not limited to: taking complete control of editing the Film in June 2013 and failing to consult with Mort about subsequent cuts and changes; abandoning Mort’s previous cuts of the Film; failing to disclose the Film’s financials, finishing budget, and financing deals; and failing to keep Mort informed of other crucial creative and budgetary developments and decisions throughout production and post-production of the Film.

And further, apparently the film was supposed to have already been released, which obviously hasn’t happened.

Mort is seeking monetary damages (the amount isn’t public yet), as well as “a declaration that the defendants can’t make decisions without her meaningful approval and consultation.”

Metro International Entertainment – a UK-based independent sales agent – is repping the film at Cannes this week, and according to a tweet the company shared on Twitter a week ago, they are certainly excited about it:

In development for at least 5 years, Mary J. Blige was initially attached to star in the film, but she was eventually replaced by Saldana who brought more international box office gravitas to the production. 

The one constant actor throughout the ordeal is & David Oyelowo, who plays Simone’s Paris-based manager Clifton Henderson

The film’s official synopsis reads:

A rare and poignant love story about a tormented genius who eventually finds love and peace. The story of the late jazz musician and classical pianist Nina Simone including her rise to fame and relationship with her manager Clifton Henderson.

Mike Epps plays Richard Pryor in the film.

Of course the controversy over the casting of Saldana as Simone created a firestorm still prevalent today, 2 years later. But, finally, at last, the film will be seen for the first time by an audience, and no doubt, many will be more than curious to hear what the verdict is.

Stay tuned…

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Maybe give the film a shot? we never know unless we see it. Better to make an informed decision than to be influenced by other drama.


good she got screwed over too thats what happens when you try and make a film EVERYONE is against. They had a blk man play james brown a guy who was compleyetly unknown but they cant do the same for a black woman?! They are probably upset that they did the movie too soon as lupita woud have been an ideal nina.


Even Hispanic community leaders don't do squat for us. But Black community leaders help everyone. Wake up. The enemy used to be white people and while I don't trust them I trust them more than a Latino.


When will you get it through your thick ignorant skulls Black people? Hispanics don't like YOU but if you're dumb enough to help them achieve success they will tolerate YOU. There are latino illegal immigrants who look down on you. So stop trying to claim these ungrateful people. Haven't we done enough for them? From 80s Lisa-Lisa to Rosie Perez J-Lo Ancient Martinez Fat Joe Pit Bull Rocsi Sonia Sotomayor and Zoe Saldana we've made a lot of them rich and successful. And is the love reciprocated? Well tell me how many Latinos have helped a Black person.


This HISPANIC woman is so disrespectful. Her entire career until she exploded in Hollywood was portraying BLACK Women. From Guess who's coming into Ursula in Star Trek she's taken roles from Black women that are already hard enough to come by. Do you think Gabrielle Union would have been considered to play the lead in Columbiana? Do you think any Black woman could play a Latina? Jennifer Lopez just said she wants Serena Gomez to play her a fellow Latino. What do you think would happen if a Black actors portrayed one of them? They'd lose it. But not us. This quick to let you know she's a proud Dominican yet steals roles from Black women gets the go ahead from our sorry race.


I didn't mean she was a horrible actress, she is a great actress I did like some of her movies she was great on Avatar I saw that on FX.


It's not about her mixed race of being an Afro-Latin women it's the fact that she has a fair complexion compared to Nina Simone. I guess today the media favors fair skinned African Americans, but now Lupita Nyong'o who is a Mexican/Kenyan she was born in Mexico to Keynan parents. Sometimes I wish and I am a Nigerian American woman but it saddens me that within Blacks/Africans, Afro-Latin and anyone mixed with African decent it is a problem if a woman has a dark complexion than one with a fair complexion I have a dark complexion, but my shade is not too dark. I am too disappointed that the role was given to her not because she is a horrible actress but her complexion why did they choose her why not another actress who has a darker complexion similar to Simone's. I hope she did not put make-up on to make her complexion "darker" Zoë's skin is beautiful as it is I want to think it's just me, but if she is then it's a slap to the face to her, because it is basically saying she was not "dark enough." It's wrong to tell a Black person of any African diaspora to say you are not "dark enough" or "black enough". I just want to know when this movie is out so I can watch it on TV the next year or two I don't go to the movies a lot.


Asking most afro-latins what their race is and having them hesitate and say white has happen on numerous occasions, on my job where they are required to answer the question. My experience with this subject is that in countries around the world most people will choose any race to be associated with than to be considered black (African). their either mixed with something or consider themselves white, (I've experienced some dark skinned people refusing to express their race as black). If you've ever spent time talking to Dominicans their country is next door to Haiti but most are highly insulted if you mention their families having any family connections to Haiti. Now I see comments on here of people that are upset that the truth is being spoken regarding race. Like anything else, if it's convenient and for some sort of financial gain then being black is a proud statement but excepting all that goes along with it (the good and the bad) and really show and proving your pride is another. Most American blacks don't have a choice of being anything else but black (not Afro-Latin, not Black Brit, not African), or any other group and proud to have come so far as just being Black!

Miles Ellison

She looks like somebody spray painted her. This looks like it will be bad. Epically bad. Catastrophically bad. Legendarily bad. Comically bad. Disgracefully bad. Offensively bad.

Linden Williams

All this means is, a terrible movie just got worst. The casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone is as ridiculous as casting Zoe Saldana as Eleanor Roosevelt. It was a stretch when they casted her as Lt. Uhura…


Zoe is black but she's black when she's went to be. And before I get attacked yes I know you can be black and Latino. Ppl press her on it that she's forced to say she's black. She always claimed to be LatinA but didn't claim to be black until she blew up


This makeup job ranks up there with the black shoe polish finish on Forest Whittacker in The Last King of Scotland. You can see the polish gathering on his shirt collar when he's sweating.

Lack of oversight.


Zoe Saldana is a terrible, terrible actress. This is gonna stink for sure.


Such a disgrace and a huge insult to the legacy and memory of the legendary Nina Simone. So many other real artists who can actually sing (and act0 could have done this role with their eyes closed. Outrageous and Zoe Saldana should be ashamed of herself!

Mark & Darla

Who ever release that picture should be shot, her fingers are way lighter than her face and neck.

Random Commentary

How many music biopics went to actors instead of singers. I do recall Janet losing to Halle for the role of Dorothy Dandridge. Hollywood casts who's HOT at the moment not who's RIGHT for the part. I'm pretty sure when its time to cast the role for OBAMA a lot of eyes and heads will start rolling. Especially if they just give it Denzel and not look deeper. Of course Spike Lee will demand to direct. So start hedging your bets now who will play the role of OBAMA and who will direct. I nominate Dennis Haysbert and Spielberg. You get credibility on both fronts and a mid-range 9 digit box-office return. I guesstimate $640 million worldwide gross.

Zhana Roiya

I agree with the previous comments. It had flop written over it from day one. From the casting to not even giving people closely associated with her the time of day to add input of the timeline of events. Certainly it should be up there with comedy or farce. No black person would take this seriously. Zoe although talented is just all wrong to play the person that Nina Was. Someone from Britain would certainly not get an understanding of what the temperament in America was to be black in the 60's and 70's in America. And someone like Zoe is so far removed from identifying herself with being black unless there is money to be made by it that it would show up in her acting as being fake as her air brushed on Tan and Afro wig.


SMDH at Cynthia Mort, she wrote a story that doesn't resemble Nina (and homophobic) one bit and she approved and defended the casting. Now she complains they didn't edit it like she wanted. Please stfu.


Nina Simone put a spell on this sh*t. I mean, a force to reckoned with in life AND spirit. This film has flop written all over it and rightfully so.


Maybe I'm wrong, but this film has such a stench built up around it that there's no way it could possibly make money or be "successful".


I can not believe this movie is still going to be distributed! I lost all respect for Zoe saldana for this! Am just so shocked by this news. I really hope people boycott this movie, its just darn right disrespectful!

Reader 1

Sounds like a last ditch effort to detach from a movie that's going to bomb.

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