Zoe Saldana’s Controversial Nina Simone Biopic Is Actually Happening, Gets Release Date


It’s been nearly four years since news leaked that Zoe Saldana was going to star in a Nina Simone biopic, titled Nina. Saldana’s ethnicity and conventional good looks led to Internet backlash and the general outrage of Simone’s family, particularly from her daughter, actress Simone Kelly. Because of this, the film was thought to have been permanently shelved. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as it’s just been announced that Nina will be in theaters and available via Video on Demand and Digital HD come April 22.

The film, which was written and directed by Cynthia Mort, also stars David Oyelowo and Mike Epps. All of these actors have achieved considerable success in the years since the completion of filming, which may have something to do with the studio’s renewed interest in getting this out into the public. Also, the fact that What Happened, Miss Simone?, Netflix’s documentary, was nominated for a feature-length doc at this year’s Oscars probably helped.

The official synopsis makes this film sound almost exactly like all of the biopics of musicians we’ve had in the past 10 years, including the upcoming Ethan Hawke-starring Chet Baker pic, Born to be Blue. Read the synopsis below.

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.

Here’s the official poster, via Entertainment Weekly.