The stories rumbling around the internet about the upcoming Nina Simone biopic have been intriguing, confusing, and contradictory. Let me bring you up to speed, if you’re not yet caught up.
The biopic was apparently supposed to feature Mary J. Blige as the star but now they’re saying Zoe Saldana is to play Nina Simone. But now folks are wondering if she’s the right choice for the role. And Nina Simone’s own daughter is speaking out about her concerns regarding this apparently unauthorized project. Oh, and the script is supposed to be a love story but reportedly the man being depicted as Nina’s lovers, was actually gay. And the film will only focus on the last few years of Nina’s life.
Keeping up with this makes me tired and concerned for the future of the film. Because if there’s one woman that deserves a full celebration of her life on the big screen, it’s Nina Simone.
A new list of potential actresses is being bandied around – Viola Davis and Angela Bassett have been mentioned, and Adepero Oduye is at the top of this wish list. I think she’s an amazing choice. Adepero Oduye is a brilliant actress who has depth and range and bears more than a passing resemblance to Nina.
However with a life as full and significant and mercurial as Nina Simone’s, I wonder if it’d be a better choice to make this a truly high caliber documentary, like Marley, which I LOVED. There’s a whole lot of amazing footage of Nina Simone’s live performances to be found, and her whole life story is compelling. Not just a short segment of it.
There have been documentaries made in the past,, but I think a new documentary by a truly committed, big name director would attract attention, win critical praise and likely awards, and it’d allow Nina Simone to tell her own story in her own voice and give the scope of her life the attention it deserves.
But that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Who would you like to see play Nina Simone, if a biopic is ever made?