Zoe Saldana apologises for playing Nina Simone in biopic
(Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Zoe Saldana apologises for playing Nina Simone in biopic

Actress Zoe Saldana has apologised for playing the role of Nina Simone in the 2016 biographical film Nina.

The film, directed by Cynthia Mort, was met by heavy criticism upon release and Simone’s estate refused to endorse the film. The criticism was directed at production staff and lead actress Saldana after it was revealed she used dark makeup, false teeth and a fake nose in an attempt to further resemble Simone.

“I should have done everything in my power with the leverage that I had 10 years ago — which was a different leverage, but it was leverage nonetheless — I should have tried everything in my power to cast a Black woman to play an exceptionally perfect Black woman,” Saldana has now commented in an interview with Steven Canals for Bese.

“I thought back then that I had the permission because I was a Black woman. And I am. But it’s Nina Simone. And Nina had a life and she had a journey that should be honoured to the specific detail … She deserved better.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry because I love her music,” she added. “We’ve been appropriating ourselves with someone like Nina Simone for a very long time. And I just want her story to be told, and I want it to be right because she deserves it.”

Listen to the interview, below.

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