Zoe Saldana has taken a lot of heat for her portrayal of Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic Nina — at least, for her physical portrayal of the jazz icon. Now that the film — which has been on the shelf for years — may finally see the light of day, the actress is addressing the controversy.
Speaking to InStyle magazine, Saldana admits that she understands why people have an issue with her playing Simone — but still defends herself against naysayers. “I didn’t think I was right for the part, and I know a lot of people will agree, but then again, I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra either,” she said in the interview.
“An artist is colorless, genderless… It’s more complex than just ‘Oh, you chose the Halle Berry look-alike to play a dark, strikingly beautiful, iconic Black woman.’ The truth is, they chose an artist who was willing to sacrifice herself. We needed to tell her story because she deserves it.”
Hopefully Saldana will be able to silence her critics when we get to see her performance in the film later this year. In the mean time, watch Saldana get defensive against those who question her right to play Simone in our 2013 interview with the actress below:
(Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)