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Watch: Trailer for Nina Simone Biopic Starring Zoe Saldana Arrives

Watch: Trailer for Nina Simone Biopic Starring Zoe Saldana Arrives

UPDATE to yesterday’s announcement that the film will finally be released in April, after 2 years of uncertainty… as I suspected would happen today, a trailer for the film is now online. Watch it below.


RLJ Entertainment has announced that “Nina” – the controversial Nina Simone film starring Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo – will be released in theaters, VOD and Digital HD on April 22, 2016.

“Nina” is written and directed by Cynthia Mort.

Official synopsis: She was one of the century’s most extraordinary talents, a 15-time Grammy nominee and Grammy Hall of Fame Recipient; her mesmerizing songs and passionate politics combined to make her the unforgettable Nina Simone (Zoe Saldana). But fame and fortune came with a price, and her later years were riddled with depression, alcohol abuse and isolation. Rediscovering the meaning of her life and work took courage, strength and one true friend: Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo), the man who started out as her assistant and eventually became her loyal manager. With Clifton’s encouragement, the “high priestess of soul” began a courageous journey back to her music … and, eventually, herself.

If you’d like to catch up on all the previous drama that has followed the film over the last couple of years, read my May 2015 piece which summarizes it all here.

Along with news of the film’s release, RLJ has also debuted the film’s first official poster, which is embedded above.

Trailer below.

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ms LM hill

what a shame! I hope someone else makes another movie of Nina. One that has an actress that doesn’t require blackface. this version looks absolutely ridiculous!

derrick eilliams

@Lauren i think jcfilms was trying to say that if they had used Lupita Nyong’o or lauren hill then that was a closer color pattern and i think they used her because of the money her films has grossed on the big screen

Paul Mitchell

1.Thank you for trying to show our RICK BLACK HiSTORY.
Yet you fail again.
2 . The person you chose to play the HIGH Princes of JAZ/SOULMUSIC at that time should be 2 to 3 SHADES DARKER. Also should have a MORE GRIT/SOUlFUL VOICE. I GUSESS they NEVER LISTEn to any of her records to TRY and MATCH her ESSENCE & SOUL.ANOTHER DARKER BlACK WOMEN who can SING should have had this role. I have all her Muisic on 33’s/45’s and on 8 Track and this women does not even come close to her. I WIL NOT THIS FLOP and all my friends and family TOO.
Better luck net time in trying to tell OUR HISTORY


She’s looks fine & loOKs like she good a job.


Didn’t you hear that Brad Pitt is in talks to play Bob Marley /s


@SouthJersey, JayJay et al….refer to my first comment where i stated that Ms. Seldana’s makeup was not happening as well as the trailer was not good either. I’m not defending this film but I stand behind my observations that women are criticized far more then men INCLUDING Ms Simone herself!


Lauren, I feel you. The difference is that Denzel, etc. were not forced to lighten their skin, where as Zoe was forced to darken hers. Having said that though, Zoe’s makeup job is awful. The makeup looks caked on and not natural. It’s a disgrace what the black production company has done to the memory of Nina Simone. And to add insult to injury, the nose prosthetic is awful. Zoe and the company want Oscars because movies with extenuating transformations have gotten much love from the Academy.


Hell no! Black face is never ok. What were they thinking? Fake nose, fake Afro? In a film about a woman who’s work was so deeply rooted in her balckness? Say it ain’t so.


Based on this trailer, this film looks absolutely abysmal! Saldana is beyond terrible. Just an awful casting decision. Never mind the looks aspect which is just a massive fail in and of itself but Saldana does not even come close to inhabiting the spirit or nobility of Simone either. It’s like watching drunk acting karaoke. Sad….


I’ll give it a chance, along with the estate-approved documentary. by the looks of the trailer though,they should’ve called it "Clifton and Nina",smh


The make-up is distracting, but I am looking forward to seeing this story.

Frank Coleman

Trailer really shows flaws in the "makeup."
Can’t wait for the Brad Pitt Bob Marley rendition.


@MARIE is easy to please. Zoe’s doesn’t look great in this trailer. I want what you’re smoking.


Adepero Oduye looks remarkably like Nina Simone…that’s all I’ve got.


I wish more young people would keep their hair natural like that. That’s nothing but a ultra perm.


They should have dumped this ill-advised project a LONG time ago. Just a poor choice.


It looks very interesting! Im a huge Nina fan and Im interested in seeing the movie. I hate that we get so caught up in skin color. I imagine Zoe wanted to challenge herself as an actress. Im not bothered by her wearing the makeup, but perhaps the application could have been better, perhaps Eddie Murphy could have recommended a better makeup artist.


@Lauren, the problem is with people like you who spout off inane Feminist centered comments without properly thinking through the problem due to a fixed, narrow minded agenda is that you can’t understand how you project your issues and your cognitive dissonance. This is not your superficial, white, political feminist gender issue. Nina Simone’s public life is about art and music and the devastation of racism against a beautiful black woman and the legacy of Imperialism and Eurocentrism’s hold on its idealized beauty.


Lauren, wrong answer. Why even bother commenting


Vanessa Williams or Vanessa B. Williams aka the female hitman/goon from New Jack City could have tackled this role in a more believable manner.


I haven’t seem Tracey Morgan’s performance but Denzel Washington’s performance as Malcolm X was on point, including his cadence. No it is not about women vrs men. It is about this woman being
chosen to portray Nina Simone.


I haven’t seen Tracey Morgan performance bur Denzel Washingto


I DO MAKEUP!!! AND THIS NOT IT! #youdefamingMsSimone #sorry #areyoukidding


Narcissism, nepotism and egotism had a menage a trois and this is the end result. SMDH.


Lets just get the movie made…and she is a Black Actor…


@Apollo….Denzel is no where near Malcolm X’s complexion…. my point is women get more static about miscasting then men. Terrance Howard as Nelson Mandala?


I believe people are upset because of how pro black Nina was and to have someone not near her shade to play her, some don’t like and then to darken her skin to do it. Denzel was the same complexion and touched a comedian about the height of Redd Fixx play him.


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There is a segment of society who could care less about Facebook or any social media outlets. They remind me of the fortunate few who didn’t get Henny Penny’s tweet which stated the sky was falling down. Consequently, since they didn’t receive Henny Penny’s opinion, they were not persuaded to follow Foxy Loxy to her den, to ultimately become her dinner. I believe there is a fortunate group of open-minded movie lovers who ain’t trying to be anybodies dinner, and therefore ain’t trying to hear anyone’s opinion on Zoe Saldana’s ability to play this role, nor some stupid make-up "controversy". Nope, they are going to enjoy the film unencumbered by the opinions of gadflies they don’t even know… and who has not even seen the film.

Theodore Godfrey

Why wouldn’t they use India Arie since see look like Nina Simone , sings like her and have her complexion ?


"…in theaters, VOD and Digital HD on April 22, 2016"

Translation: This sh!t wack so don’t waste your time or money.

Bayan Baree

Long before Denzel Washington career took off . He played Macolm X in a successful off off Broadway stage production at the New Federal Theatre in NYC in the very early 1980’s.


Why, this is so disrespectful, Wrong actress for this role!


As I watch this, I get emotional. This is so overly disturbing. I will in no way shape or form support, promote,nor ever even speak light on social media again about this filth. It is severely insulting to the legacy of Nina… Not just the skin makeup. It goes much farther than that.


@Lauren It has nothing to do with the fact that they are men but EVERYTHING to do with the fact that this is virtually black face…instead of getting a darker skinned black woman to play the role (because many of them exist) they got a lighter skinned woman to play the role and used make-up to darken her skin…they didn’t do that to Red foxx and Malcolm X…furthermore they ar ea lot closer in skin tone than these 2…I was opposed to them whhite washing Miss Simone, but this is even worse, honestly…I’d rather Zoe play her without the black face…


Nina is rolling in her grave


I hope that the David Oyelowo character is a real person and not some amalgam in order to better tell the story. After the world experienced the Nina Simone Documentary on Netflix last year, I don’t think that this dramatization(on first glance)is doing the estate or memory of Ms. Simone any favours. As far as Malcolm X, Denzel had a history of playing Malcolm on stage to much critical acclaim, so, I think that is why he was chosen. Yes, Tracey Morgan seems like a bad choice for Redd Foxx for the simple reason that he isn’t the best actor.


OMG Zoe Saldana looks TERRIBLE!! WTF Wow. This movie so insulting on so many levels…


I think Zoe’s performance looks great and I’ll see it when it’s out on Netflix. BUT, I agree with the others regarding the makeup–most of us have seen Zoe before and we know she’s wearing makeup to make her darker. It’s a huge distraction in this preview. Maybe it’ll be less distracting when one is watching the film and gets used to it.


Sorry @lauren but the sexism/gender argument become null and void when prosthetics and make-up are aded to the equation especially with color and beauty standards are such a central part of Nina’s narrative.




Putting aside the hideous makeup, her build is completely wrong. Where is she "out of shape" and needing to "go to the gym" anywhere in this movie? She’s a waif. This is such a travesty.


@JCFilms…well if Tracy Morgan can play Redd Foxx ?!?!! And Denzel can play Malcolm X…..oh yeah, they’re men and have less shade thrown their way. Not that I think Zoe looks right in this…just sayin


Where’s Lauren Hill to play that role for God’s sake. Hollyweird. What’s next? BRAD PITT plays BOB MARLEY?


The makeup takes your attention from everything!!!!!


The trailer is as ineffectual as Ms Seldana’s makeup.

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