Zoe Saldana has zero screen presence and she is supposed to play a musical legend. Oh, OK.
Nina deserves a nut as big as herself for this role.
Nina Simone had gravitas on stage. Zoe Saldana doesn't.
I am linking to Nina Simone's re-interpretation of the song "Feelings" and it is live. Zoe Saldana can't touch this type of lady in a film at all.
Think of Nina's overall story as well as how she looked and then think of Zoe Saldana playing her. It is a hard thing to do, really.
I don't want to hold Saldana's looks against her, but at this point they are all I know her for, and based on looks alone, she is far too attractive to play Simone. Saldana has the face and figure of a high fashion model, and part of SImone's allure was the complete unconventionality of her looks.
Inyanla Van Zant should play her.
That video, R3, displays Nina at the height of her power. How she could turn a shitty pop tune into something deep and meaningful is an art that only few singers possess. (Aretha Franklin at her prime could do the same.)
Zoe Saldana looks nothing like Nina Simone! Granted, Angela Bassett didn't look like Tina Turner, but again, she's Angela Bassett, an actress with serious acting chops. Saldana, to date, hasn't proven to me that she's in that league.
The role really should have went to someone like Heather Headley.
I think Mo'Nique is the only one who could play a role of this magnitude.
I was going to say something similar, R7. She doesn't look like Simone but a good actress wouldn't need to. I'm not sure that Saldana is a good enough actress to pull it off. And neither is Blige. They should take the film seriously and get a talented actress to play Simone. Even if it has to be an unknown.
Oprah could do it, if she could drop 50 pounds.
"She doesn't look like Simone but a good actress wouldn't need to."
If you put a conventionally pretty actress in this role, then you completely change the story and invalidate the struggle of an "ethnic" performer. It would be like casting Zac Efron in a Dustin Hoffman biopic and insisting, "But he's one-quarter Jewish!" The reason Hoffman was a trail-blazer was because he DIDN'T look like Zac Efron.
Duh, that's a no, brainer - Viola Davis of course.
My grandmother grew up in small town of Tryon, NC. I used to go there every year growing up for family reunions. My grandmother and Nina Simone went to school together in the same one room school house that my great Uncle eventually bought and made his home. Nina's mom would often be at our family and school reunions. Nina, once she left, never looked back, and I think folks resented her for that.
I think Saldana could field the career of a one hit wonder who slept her way through the political realm of the Carribean while evading taxes in the USA. I can't imagine interest in the material to span beyond an indie or made for HBO movie.
I just hope the bitch eats a sandwich first. I can barely stand to look at her anorexic ass.
This is a role India Arie was born to play.
I like Zoe Saldana and wish her all the improbable kick-ass action movie leads she wants, but this is ridiculous casting. Like, up there with when Beyonce (who I also like) was slated to do an Angela Davis biopic.
I understand, R11. Simone's looks were a major part of her story and her struggle. She wasn't what our society considered ( or considers) beautiful and she got a lot of flack because of it.I like to think that a good actor can become anyone. I don't think that Saldana is a good enough actress to pull it off and I also realize that Saldana is just "too pretty" for the role. Being pretty makes her less believable in the role, particularly if the film touches on the looks issue and how Simone was treated because of her looks. Saldana is the hot girlfriend. But it's already hers, no? If so, I hope she does the role justice.
This is horrible casting.
Only Sandra Bernhard can do justice to "Four Women."
Viola Davis, as R12 points out, would be perfect. India Arie has the look and the singing chops, but she really doesn't act, does she, and if she does, I don't think she has the chops to pull this off.
The article mentions Simone's daughter supports Kimberly Elise for the role, and that actually would be a great pick as well. She is pretty tiny, though.
"Zoe Saldana looks nothing like Nina Simone! Granted, Angela Bassett didn't look like Tina Turner, but again, she's Angela Bassett, an actress with serious acting chops. Saldana, to date, hasn't proven to me that she's in that league."
Hindsight is 20/20. Exactly what had Bassett done to prove she had serious acting chops BEFORE What's Love Got to Do With It.
Look, I'm not wild about this casting either, for the reasons Simone (Jr.) has given, but that's no reason to dismiss Saldana as an actress.
It's all about money, box office. Zoe Saldana has a recognizable face and name. She sells tickets. She wants to be considered a real actress and those behind the scenes want the best chance to make as much money as possible. Zoe is a bankable star.
This role will test her abilities for sure. And many will be curious to see if she can handle such a role. I get that it's odd to choose a pretty girl to play a woman who wasn't considered a pretty girl and caught hell for it. But again Zoe is bankable and making money is more important than perfect casting.
It's the same reason that Beyonce was up for the role as Angela Davis or JHud as Winnie Mandela as well as many other peculiar choices for roles. It's sad, it gives new talent very few opportunities, but that's Hollywood. Things have to change.
Saldana may get her picture in the gossip blogs, but she's no more a box-office draw than Viola Davis. And she's much less of an actress.
[quote] Hindsight is 20/20. Exactly what had Bassett done to prove she had serious acting chops BEFORE What's Love Got to Do With It.
You obviously didn't see her in Boyz N the Hood, Malcolm X and The Jacksons: An American Dream, where she dominated in all three.
Also, before breaking into movies and television, she done extensive theater work, notably in August Wilson's plays. So, no, there was already proof BEFORE What's Love Got To Do With It that Bassett had serious acting chops before she became a household name playing Tina Turner.
Whoopi Goldberg (and CGI).
The woman who plays Michonne on The Walking Dead would be great too. I hate the idea of Zoe Saldana in this; it reminds me of Angela Jolie casting herself as Mariane Pearl, a role that should have gone to a biracial actress.
BTW, this is going to be written and directed by Cynthia Mort, Jodie Foster's ex.
Marianne Jean Baptiste!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is the worst idea since the rumored casting of Kristin Chenoweth as Dusty Springfield.
Adam Sandler would be great as Nina!
Goods choice, R29.
I love me some Nina, but OMG, that face could stop Big Ben. Maybe Zoe isn't right for this role??
Does her daughter own the rights to her late mother's story? If she does, then the decent thing to do would be for someone to listen to her in terms of casting.
Zoe Saldana is still quite young. She will be alright and might be able to prove her true worth as an actress (artistically) in any other role beside this one.
Totally agree with R35 Totally. No brainer casting that would be.
The thing is that this movie will be based on the memoirs of Nina's nurse which is supposedly a love story, but according to Nina's daughter, the nurse was a gay guy who just made things up in order to cash in...so this movie already has an unphill battle, but at least some of her songs will be in it, I hope.
True. Too too skinny. In the 1st Pirates of the Caribbean she was shapely, beautiful. Now, I can't even look at her.
r28 Angelina was the actress of choice by Pearl herself.
Zoe Saldana is a horrible actress. Nina Simone's daughter is clearly not as crazy as her mom!
I remember reading or hearing that Cynthia Mort's big desire is to be famous. I don't think having a push back from the black community was what she had in mind.
Is that true r41? A few DLers used to post stuff about her in the Tell Me You Love Me/Ian Somerhalder threads. Iirc, they were furious that she got that show canceled because she was too pussy whipped to actually sit down and write ideas for the second season. So HBO got tired of waiting.
My friend and I both saw Sparkle this weekend and both thought that Tika Sumpter could play a young Nina. The bob and the afro wigs really played up the resemblance.
I wonder if Viola Davis was offered the role and turned it down.
[quote] Zoe Saldana has a recognizable face and name. She sells tickets.
But she's okay with Rachel Zoe playing her mother?
R42, pussy whipped by who?
I always found it weird that her show was renewed then cancelled. Especially since i read an interview with her explaining that she had mapped out the seasons in advanced.
My thoughts exactly, r45.
R47, see R28.
Race was a big part of Nina Simone's life. As her daughter said she was rejected from a school because she was dark skinned and didn't fit the image they were looking for. Being a dark skinned black woman had a major impact and influence on Nina Simone's life so Zoe Saldana, the light skinned black Latina, is the wrong choice.
Saldana is a hypocrite! She is a black woman ONLY when it suits her!
She She plays with race the same way Halle Berry does. Mixed race women like Halle Berry and Zoe Saldana have an advantage, they can take all the roles meant for black women because in Hollywood lighter skinned women are considered more palatable.
Saldana markets herself as a LATINA not as a BLACK ACTRESS! She knows if she called herself only a black actress it would limit the roles she gets in Hollywood. So, Saldana thinks she can swoop in and take a role meant for a dark skinned black woman.
I don't see the problem. Just add a putty nose and dark makeup to Saldana. I think it's awesome that Saldana is a big enough fan of Simone to float the project. John Goodman used a prosthesis to portray Babe Ruth. Not to mention all the incarnations of Cyrano De Bergerac.
[quote]Saldana markets herself as a LATINA not as a BLACK ACTRESS!
Because she is what for her being half Dominican and half Puerto Rican.
Hell. She played a Colombian in a film which was very intolerant minded toward Colombians.
She just does not seem to care or something.
She should not play Nina Simone at all. She just shouldn't. There is no reason why a talented actress (even an unknown) who at least has Nina Simone's basic look and coloring can't do the role. And, I state that because of Nina Simone's personal history with her looks and coloring, and I am not in any way trying to be intolerant minded at all.
Hell, if the actress who played "Precious" (her name eludes me) was a thinner lady, she could rock this role. But, Zoe Saldana? Hell no. She just can't do it because she does not look it nor can act it. Will she be CGI-ed or something? Maybe that is it.
If Charleze Theron can portray 'Monster' then Zoe Saldana can portray Nina Simone. Zoe was no slouch in the acting department in 'Star Trek' and 'Avatar', both highly profitable projects.
Oh please, she played supporting roles in "Trek" and "Avatar", and wasn't outstanding in either. And the fanboys who liked her in those films definitely won't be rushing out to see a Nina Simone biopic!
Unless she's funding the project with her "Avatar" money, there's absolutely no reason to use her isntead of someone who has the look and who has proven her skill.
Viola Davis is too obvious. Plus she seems to have replaced Halle Berry as Hollywood's go to actress for black roles now. (There can never be more than one, apparently.) Let some other sisters shine for a change.
I think Mary would have done a good job. Acting wise, I don't know, but she certainly could identify with Simone's intensive anger and issues with depression.
Condola Rashad would be inspired casting. The girl can act.
Regina King would be great too.
It's too bad Lela Rochon never made it big. She could act and she was gorgeous.
"If Charleze Theron can portray 'Monster' then Zoe Saldana can portray Nina Simone"
Wow,what poor analogy.Nina was not a serial killer ,but a beautiful,talented woman who didn't fit America's the narrow definition of 'beauty' and that rejection is paramount to Nina's story.If they're going to go all crazy with the casting,then,heck,Teresa Saldana should be considered,too!
""If Charleze Theron can portray 'Monster' then Zoe Saldana can portray Nina Simone" "
That doesn't mean that any pretty actress with a middling can do the same, genius. They don't all have a brilliant talent that's waiting for the right role to come out, even if they all think they do.
I meant to say "middling CAREER", goddamit.
[quote]I meant to say "middling CAREER", goddamit.
But you didn't.
Did a quick search on twitter on Cynthia Mort and she certainly doesn't have any fans there. One woman wrote a blog post saying she needed to go "play in traffic". Another said, SHE was the problem, not Zoe.
I don't see why these people just wont give Zoe and Cynthia the benefit of the doubt.
So they're straight-washing the gay guy.
Christina Aguilera has been been pushing for the role, she has the soul and chops, but I do think the role should be played by a black actress.
yes, pussy whipped by who?
R30 If you think that's bad, then Nicole Kidman (again) was also attached to that role for years. Awful. At least Chenoweth can sing.
New Photos Of Zoe Saldana In Full Nina Simone Regalia Surface; Convinced?
They should have cast Fantasia now that poor Fanny's not doing the Aretha biopic.
Zoe looks like she's doing a blackface routine. Who the fuck thought she'd make a good Nina Simone?
Gurl, you know the critics' claws will be out for this one when it's released!!! The director should be ashamed of herself.
I agree with r6.
I agree with r15 too.
"It would be like casting Zac Efron in a Dustin Hoffman biopic and insisting, "But he's one-quarter Jewish!" The reason Hoffman was a trail-blazer was because he DIDN'T look like Zac Efron"
The Jewish thing has nothing to do with Efron and Hoffman.
Zac can easily star in the Tony Curtis biopic, and Curtis was fully Jewish. On the other hand, would being fully Jewish qualify someone to play Hoffman? No. Jonah Hill and Anton Yelchin and Logan Lerman are fully Jewish, but they probably shouldn't play Hoffman. Frankly the actor who could best play him is (non-Jewish) Josh Hutcherson, who is also short and dark, and wouldn't need that much makeup (although he sounds very different). But probably the actor who looks most like Hoffman is Alan Cumming (also not Jewish).
Hoffman was a trailblazer? Maybe for short ugly people, but not for Jews. There were dozens of male Jewish movie stars, Cornel Wilde, Curtis, Kirk Douglas, John Garfield, the brilliant Edward G. Robinson (also short and dark, btw), Paul Muni, Jean-Pierre Aumont, etc. The first movie star, ever, Broncho Billy Anderson, was... Jewish. So he was also the first Jewish movie star. Not Dustin Hoffman.
It's like saying William H. Macy was the first WASP movie star.