After the unlikely casting choice of Zoe Saldana for director Cynthia Mort’s upcoming biopic on Nina Simone, a person very close to the situation has weighed in on the discussion: the legendary singer’s daughter, Simone.
Simone says while she’s a fan of Saldana as an actress, she would have loved to see Kimberly Elise or even Viola Davis star in the leading role as her mom.
“I love Zoe Saldana’s work. 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 other actress out there…who would be great as my mother,” Simone told Ebony Magazine. “The one actress that I’ve had in my heart for a long time, whose work I’m familiar with already is Kimberly Elise. Many people have spoken to me about Viola [Davis]. I love her look. I love her energy.”
Like many Saldana casting detractors, Simone feels both Elise and Davis better possess the physical characteristics of her mother. “Both of the actresses that I’ve mentioned are women of color,” she says, “are women with beautiful, luscious lips and wide noses and who know their craft.”
Getting Nina's look right would be a great start. Maybe someone in Tinsletown will get the idea to mount a dueling biopic project, then audiences could get more than one vision of this legendary heroine’s life on the big screen.
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(Photos from left: REUTERS/Chip East, Simone/Facebook)