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Zoe Saldana Transforms Into Nina Simone for 'Nina' Biopic Trailer - Watch Now!

Zoe Saldana Transforms Into Nina Simone for 'Nina' Biopic Trailer - Watch Now!

The first trailer for the biopic Nina, starring Zoe Saldana in the title role as Nina Simone, was just released.

The movie tells the story of the late jazz musician and classical pianist Nina Simone including her rise to fame and relationship with her manager Clifton Henderson.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Zoe Saldana

David Oyelowo stars opposite Zoe as her nurse turned manager Clifton Henderson.

“‘I’ll tell you what freedom is to me- No Fear… I mean really, no fear.’ #NinaSimone” Zoe posted on her Twitter account.

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  • http://rememberingthedesireisprivate.blogspot.com/ GFW™

    Can Zoe sing? This woman (Nina) was her own worst enemy.
    And staying in an abusive relationship for too long did her in.

  • A.P. Millz-CT

    My issue is that this woman said that she considers herself to be Latina and not Black. Ms. Nina was an incredibly proud Black woman and to be played by a woman who does not claim to even be Black is a slap in the face. It’s like Taraji being casted to play Celia Cruz(although Taraji looks more like Celia than Zoe looks like Nina)…. just no.

  • xica

    I love Nina “My baby just cares for me…”

  • Amber

    I agree! I find it incredibly offensive and am surprised there has been no backlash as of yet. Zoe Saldana has adamantly denied being black on more than one occasion.

  • Domino

    You do know there are black latinos, right? She identifies with her latino heritage, there is nothing wrong with that. You americans are too obsessed with people’s skin tones.

  • A.P. Millz-CT

    Yeah, my mother is a black Puerto Rican… So, I am fully aware :)

  • Rose Vasquez

    The main issue is not her race, she could have been a erfectly good Nina Simone WITHOUT THE BLACK FACE. Is disrespectful, again with the black face paint!! If you wanted someone with darker skin, GET SOMEONE ELSE. Zoe is a great actress, but her performance is going to be overlook just because someone decided to spray her with 3 tons of bronzer. This is not like adopting a new accent and having a Brit play an American.

  • Rose Vasquez

    When you try to make someone’s skin tone darker for a movie you bet your ass this is going to be just about that. Wanted someone darker, then get someone darker. Is like Joseph Fienes (or whatever his lastname is) playing Michael Jackson. Are you fucking kidding me? Are you gonna say that people is obsessed with skin tones when I want an African american actor to play AN AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN?? IS disrespectful, period. For the community, for the audience, and for the actors themselves

  • Rose Vasquez

    No backlash? There has been a backlash since she was cast. So sad, cause she is really good actress

  • Just Saying

    It doesn’t matter how bad the movie is, at least we know is getting an Oscar nomination for sure next year.

  • Amber

    I see that now; I was unaware of the backlash but it didn’t take long to discover it by googling Nina Simone. I agree that Zoe Saldana is a talented actress, but I think she is ill-suited for the role, and her acceptance of the role in my eyes is hypocritical of her stance with regards to her own race.

    Also, it seems a lot of the backlash also comes from the fact that darker-skinned actresses with closer facial features to Nina Simone’s were skipped over. Yes, it does look like Zoe Saldana is wearing badly done black face. Not that black face is ever done well, but the makeup job and prosthetic nose feels like an insult to the memory and legacy of Nina Simone.

  • Gina

    Zoe is Afro Latina, so I would hardly call it Black Face. But I do understand where you are coming from. Someone who actually considers herself black should take on the role.

  • Dee

    naaa it wont, this movie had too much backlash and not to mention that nina simones family does NOT support this movie at all….so when the family doesnt even want to back it up, it wont stand a chance…..

  • shoes4life

    I’m sorry there are so many different shades of body make up in every scene, and proof of that is the photo used showing they didn’t completely cover her up. This is just wrong! You can’t tell me they couldn’t find an actress with skin tone like Ms. Simone to play this role? I see this flopping because it is too distracting because you can see the makeup.

  • Rose Vasquez

    When you paint someone’s face with black makeup, doesnt matter your own skin tone, you will have a black face. Is not about her race, or weather or not she is black enough, or that bullshit. She could be a great Nina Simone just on her own. Dont care if she identifies herself as Asian, if the movie called for someone darker, then get someone darker. Dont darken someone’s skin tone, thats wrong

  • Gina

    Well I’m conflicted. In a perfect world, the casting would be spot on from the skin tone to the acting chops, but sometimes you have to work with what you have. If Zoe is as talented as people say she is, then certain things can be overlooked in my opinion. Would you expect them to cast a girl who is less talented than Zoe is just because she is dark skinned? Zoe isn’t a light-skinned girl to begin with, she has a medium brown skin tone. Perhaps someone like Jennifer Hudson would be a better choice, but I’m willing to give Zoe a chance. Black face to me is when a non-black person tries to make themselves look black, not when a black girl makes herself look darker. IMO Zoe is a black girl whether she likes to admit it or not. If anyone should have a problem, it should be with the fact that a girl who doesn’t consider herself black is playing the part of a black woman, so I guess in that sense, Zoe would be engaging in black face in her own messed up way.

  • Rose Vasquez

    Might wanna re read my comments. Nobody is denying her talent, nobody has a problem with her ethnicity or her skin tone. The problem is with the studios to not accept her just as she is, and for her to compromise and go ahead with darkening her skin. Unfortunately, as you can see, this could even be an oscar worthy performance, but because this controversy we might never know

  • Gina

    I read the comment that I replied to. Regardless, a huge part of getting into character is looking the part. How can you play someone without trying your best to look the part? Makeup artists and costume designers are employed for that very reason when it comes to movie-making.

  • Rose Vasquez

    Whatever, you are 100% narrow minded and stubborn. Im done with you. You are comparing making someone look old, or fat to darken someone’s skin tone. She is not tanned, to be blunt and probably offensive, they made her blacker. If you believe this is what make up artists do, then lets have Jennifer Lawrence play Oprah and applaud Joe Fiennes playing Michael Jackson. Hell, why stop there, who wants to see Djmon Honsou play Bill Clinton … Hands??

  • Guestz

    That isn’t accurate. I think people are misportaying Zoe’s comments in one interview out of context where she talked about being frustrated for being typecast in ethnic roles. She denied being African American, she didn’t deny being black. She has repeatedly referred to herself as black in many interviews in the past.

    You know Hollywood is infamously unPC. Oscar Isaac and Tony Revolori are Latino and they have played Middle Eastern/Asian and characters that were definitely not hispanic. There are tons of examples of this. I know this might be a more sensitive issue considering the skin tone and because Nina Simone was a real person but I feel people are being way too harsh on Zoe here.

    She has referred to herself as mixed race, latina, and black many times.

    https://youtu.be/S4i6v5Xph3Q

    Watch this interview

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/zoe-saldana-for-allure-talks-race_n_3271742.html

    http://urbanbushbabes.com/zoe-saldana-i-am-a-black-woman/

    Zoe told Tavis Smiley in an interview where she discussed race relations that her children are half-black. There are so many examples. Zoe has played a number of black characters in movies. I think people confuse her identifying as Puerto Rican/Dominican/Latina as denying her blackness which isn’t accurate. She is both. She denied being African American because Dominicans don’t identify as African Americans.

  • Guestz

    This is not the first time this has happened. Zoe is a getting a lot of heat when hundreds of actors over the years have worn makeup or have used prosthetics.

    Zoe is technically black and despite what some people are falsely claiming on the internet, she has identified herself as black in a bunch of interviews.

    David Oyelowo is not African American, he is Black British. He was born in England and his parents were born in Nigeria. He played Martin Luther King Jr and has played many African American roles. It is the same with Chiwetel Ejiofor and a number of actors. Lupita N’yongo was born in Mexico and her parents were born in Kenya. Dev Patel was born in England and his parents were born in Kenya. He has played a lot of Indian characters. Gael Bernal Garcia has played characters that weren’t Mexican.

    Oscar Isaac, Tony Revolori, and a number of Latino actors have played Asian or Middle Eastern characters. You know Hollywood doesn’t cast precisely according to nationality or even ethnicity.

    You know it is complicated. It is hard for brown people to get cast in films in the first place and it is tough when actors/actresses of color have to strictly adhere to precise political correctness. It makes it hard for them to get work so I give those actors more flexibility.

  • Guestz

    I replied to other posters about this earlier. Zoe does consider herself black. She even told Tavis Smiley in a recent interview that her children are half-black and they got into an interesting discussion about biracial identity.

    I understand that this is a complicated issue. I think a lot of people on the internet are misportraying certain comments of Zoe’s from one particular interview when she was talking about racial labels and not wanting to be pidgeon holed in ethnic roles.

    Zoe denied being African American, she didn’t deny being black. In fact, I have heard herself refer to herself proudly as a black woman in tons of interviews. She has identified herself as Afro Latina, black, latina, and as mixed race but not as African American which has a different identity association to it.

    Here are some examples:

    https://youtu.be/S4i6v5Xph3Q

    http://urbanbushbabes.com/zoe-saldana-i-am-a-black-woman/

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/zoe-saldana-for-allure-talks-race_n_3271742.html

  • Guestz

    There have been a lot of unauthorized movies and books about famous people that have become critically acclaimed and successful despite a family’s disapproval. One current example would be American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson.

    Steve Jobs’s wife didn’t like the recent movie about him either yet it received nominations.

  • Guestz

    Zoe is not white, so it is not the same thing.

    There also have been tons of actors and actresses who play roles outside of their real race or sexual orientation. Oscar Isaac and Tony Revolori are the first two that come to mind. They have played characters that were Asian/Middle Eastern when they are latino. There a lot of examples.

    Zoe IS Black. She never denied being black, she denied being African American. People are reacting inaccurately to what she is said in one controversial interview about POC labels but ignoring what she has said in tons of interviews where she identified herself as black.

    It is a shame because she is quite good in this role. I do understand that it would have been a better choice to cast an actress that genuinely resembled Nina Simone in skin tone and appearance so they wouldn’t have had to use makeup or a prosthetic.

    She is not the first actress to alter her appearance though for a part.

  • Guestz

    I agree to a certain extent.

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/we-need-to-educate-ourselves-on-race-vs-ethnicity-and-other-things-i-learned-from-this-weeks-zoe-saldana-nina-simone-conversation

    http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Entertainment/defense-zoe-saldana-nina-simone/story?id=17593889

    Also, Zoe has referred herself as black on many occasions. I have seen this on camera as well as in a bunch of print interviews over the years.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/zoe-saldana-for-allure-talks-race_n_3271742.html

    Zoe Saldana admits being a proud black and Latina women

    https://youtu.be/S4i6v5Xph3Q

    http://www.people.com/article/zoe-saldana-husband-last-name

    Most of the examples are tv interviews. She referred to herself as mixed race and both Black & Latin on Tavis Smiley. She did this on Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight on various occasions. I can’t find the clips now but I remember watching her say this.

    I know there are more examples.

  • Guestz

    I posted another longer message about this. Zoe is being held to a double standard when many actors have done this.

    Forest Whitaker also darkened his skin for The Last King of Scotland because Idi Amin had a darker complexion. Forest Whitaker is also not Ugandan either.

    http://aalbc.com/reviews/forest_whitaker.htm

    He admits to this himself.

    He didn’t receive an extreme backlash from the Ugandan people or the black community in America over this. It would have been more PC for them to have cast a Ugandan actor or a guy with a darker skin tone, correct? Forest would have lost an Oscar-winning role due to a strict standard if he bowed down to militant people. In fact, Forest got tons of support over this role.

  • Guestz

    I posted another longer message about this. Zoe is being held to a double standard when many actors have done this.

    Forest Whitaker also darkened his skin for The Last King of Scotland because Idi Amin had a darker complexion. Forest Whitaker is also not Ugandan either.

    http://aalbc.com/reviews/forest_whitaker.htm

    He admits to this himself.

    He didn’t receive an extreme backlash from the Ugandan people or the black community in America over this. It would have been more PC for them to have cast a Ugandan actor or a guy with a darker skin tone, correct? Forest would have lost an Oscar-winning role due to a strict standard if he bowed down to militant people. In fact, Forest got tons of support over this role.

  • Guestz

    Forest Whitaker won an Oscar for playing Idi Amin. He darkened his skin for the role as well. Why should Zoe be trashed and denied that possibility as well over if she is good in the role?

    http://aalbc.com/reviews/forest_whitaker.htm

    “KW: You also seem to have undergone a significant physical transformation for the role.

    FW: Yeah, Kevin wanted him to be bigger, so definitely, I did gain some more weight for the character. And since Idi Amin was from the Sudanese section in the north of Uganda, he was darker skinned. He had more of a blue undertone. So, we did change the coloring of my skin to be closer to his. But otherwise, there were no transformations besides acting”

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  • Gina

    Ok. Good to know that she does acknowledge she is black, or at least part black.

  • Gina

    And you are 100% off-base and defensive. I was being civil towards you, but it seems that you can’t take it when someone disagrees with you, or at least act like an adult about it. The fact that you compare & equate Zoe playing Nina to Jennifer playing Oprah is a joke and a weak attempt at making a point. Zoe CLEARLY has black in her, Jennifer Lawrence does not. You know damn well it is not the same thing. Making a black woman darker is NOT the same as making a white woman black. Sit your ignorant and deluded ass down. I am the one that’s done with YOU.

  • Rose Vasquez

    Sorry I didnt answer before cause you know, I work. Oh so we are GOING to START using CAPS. Should’ve known you are a teenager, or have the mind of one. Go ahead, I KNOW you like to have the last work. I’ll start from your “I am the one that’s done with YOU” … So, Im rubber and YOU are glue ….. I’ll let you have the last word sweetie… Oh, and btw, I did not call you any names so that also proves how immature you can be. Sorry, Im rambling, go ahead, have the last word :)

  • Gina

    Honey, we all work so don’t act like you’re special in that regard. If I’m acting like a teenager it would only be to get down to YOUR level, which is such a long way down I haven’t even gotten there…yet. Don’t make me, though. Get your temper in check, you’re a mess. I know you’re frustrated that you aren’t able to articulate a point to save your life, so take a good long deep breath. If you want me to have the last word, it’s only because your arguments are weak and you’re trying to save face. Keep trying though, darling. BYE!

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