Watch: Nina Simone Gets the Generic Biopic Treatment in Zoe Saldana-Starring ‘Nina’ Trailer


Just a day after it was announced that the Zoe Saldana-starring Nina Simone biopic was indeed being released — with a theatrical and VOD opening date set for April 22 — the film now has a trailer.

Nina, written and directed by Cynthia Mort, stirred a good deal of controversy when it was first announced four years ago, particularly due to the fact that actress Zoe Saldana was cast in the role, for which she allegedly darkened her skin, wore a prosthetic nose, and… as the trailer reveals, still didn’t look anything like Nina Simone. There was a petition asking the director to change her casting decision, and as NPR explained, Nina Simone’s own daughter Simone Kelly spoke out against the choice, citing how her mother had criticized Hollywood’s favoritism towards lighter skinned actresses, and how she had said she’d wanted Whoopi Goldberg to play her if ever a biopic was made.

From the trailer, the film itself looks as generic as any other biopic about an artist and their personal demons meeting larger societal demons. (And generic is not a word one wants to associate with such an important figure.) One noted perk is that it co-stars David Oyelowo as Clifton Henderson, Simone’s manager.

The trailer could, however, work as potent reverse psychology: it may make you want so skip the movie while reminding you of how much you want to watch the Oscar nominated documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?— replete with footage of the actual musician.