Zoe Saldana: 'I Turned Down the Nina Simone Role for a Year'

The actress reveals what's been going on with the cursed film.

The critically-acclaimed documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? — which debuted on Netflix yesterday — and accompanying soundtrack may have taken what little wind was left in the sails of the cursed biopic Nina. But Zoe Saldana, who controversially plays Nina Simone, isn't giving up on the film. 

We sat down with Saldana to figure out what's going on with the project, which has been on the shelf for three years, and asked her to reflect on what got her to say yes to the part knowing that many people would look at her as Nina Simone and say, "No."

After acknowledging earlier this month that maybe she wasn't the best choice to play Miss Simone, Saldana tells us that she, indeed, turned the film down for a full year before coming aboard. And she took the project because the people she describes as "more physically right for the part" passed on the project.

"If people would have known the whole story about what happened, they might have a different point of view," she tells us. "I did give it thought, and at the end of the day, I'm proud of my decision."
She also hints at the behind-the-scenes drama responsible for keeping the film on the shelf for three years. "It's unfortunate that political and business reasons have prevented the director [Cynthia Mort] and myself getting our vision for what this story is, and a lot of inexperienced people have had undeserving power over this film."
Still, Saldana is optimistic about the future of the film, which is reportedly slated to come out later this year. "We won't give up. We'll continue to fight," she says.
We certainly look forward to seeing what Saldana did with the role once Nina hits theaters. Watch our full interview with the actress below:

(Photos from left: John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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