The use of a lighter-skinned woman to play a Nina Simone has caused online chatter
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/02/2012 -- The pictures of Zoe Saldana’s transformation to resemble Nina Simone have caught the attention of many regarding the biopic. Saldana’s dark makeup, wooly afro, and dental implants have begun to spark early discussion regarding the movie.
Simone, who had a much darker complexion and broader facial structure than the actress playing her, has some grumblings both positive and negative regarding the transformation necessary for the movie Nina that is to be released next year.
Nina Simone sang often of the pain of being under the scrutiny of others due to her being “too dark” for society. That social standing is part of the reason the casting of a lighter-skinned actress to play her is being lambasted by some critics across the internet.
Numerous blogs have voiced concern, or downright vocal criticism, in the casting choice of the Columbiana actress being chosen for a Jazz legend’s role.
“The reason this is coming up now is there’s still such a paucity of opportunity for African-American women to work in the cinema that we are quick to scrutinize each individual role,” Vassar College’s film department chair Mia Mask told ABC News. “Here, when we have actresses who look the part and they are still overlooked, it only strengthens the argument that there’s a pattern here.”
Both Ms. Saldana and the director (Cynthia Mort) have declined to commend on the controversy surrounding the project. Nina Simon’s daughter has been very vocal, and has openly has commented on her disapproval of Nina. Her anger, however, has not been pointed toward Saldana.
“I love Zoe Saldana’s work,” Kelly said in an interview with Ebony.com. “I’ve seen some of her movies more than once and really enjoy what she brings to the screen. As an actress I respect her process, but I also know that there are many actresses out there, known or not, who would be great as my mother. The one actress that I’ve had in my heart for a very long time, whose work I’m familiar with already, is Kimberly Elise. Many people have spoken to me about Viola. I love her look. I love her energy. Both of the actresses that I’ve mentioned are women of color, are women with beautiful, luscious lips and wide noses, and who know their craft.”
Nina’s producers have secured the rights to the story, and Kelly has been shut out of the production process.
Hollywood’s African American figures have remained relatively silent regarding the issue of Saldana’s choice. Save for Jill Scott, a formidable singer and actress who supported the selection openly, despite being touted by others as being a better selection for the role.
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