It seems biopic season is far from over; the movies about music legends are still rolling in thick and fast. Next off the conveyor belt is the story of the high priestess of soul, Miss Nina Simone. Yesterday folks got treated to the first glimpse of the movie as its official trailer was released online. In its few hours on YouTube the clip has generated about three times as many dislikes as it has likes. The comments range from regrets about Zoe Saldana being cast as the legendary singer to outrage at what some view as an affront to Nina’s legacy.
But the rage didn’t just start with the release of the movie trailer. Way before the filming began, the Nina Simone estate, represented by her daughter Lisa Simone Kelly had raised several objections against the project. The first was that neither the permission nor the contribution of the estate was ever sought. Second was the exclusion in the story of many moments she felt were pivotal in the life of her mother and her career. Another was the misleading portrayal of the relationship between Nina and her assistant Clifton Henderson which the film brings out as romantic. Lisa, in her lengthy rant called the biopic a “made up love story”.
Simone Kelly’s open letter was posted in 2012 and even then people were not amused by the choice of Saldana for the movie’s lead character. Not only did they feel that her complexion was wrong, they worried that she did not have the musical chops to go with the part. They felt musicians India.Arie, N’dambi, Noora Noor or actress Anika Noni Rose would have brought out Nina better. Judging from the reactions the trailer has garnered, they were right in their predictions. I’m not a movie person but I have to agree the make up job to try and make Zoe resemble the singer-activist hasn’t really worked out. You watch it below and let us know what you think but reserve your final verdict for when ‘Nina’ comes out in April.
Miami Based, Internationally Known