Nina Simone Biopic Starring Zoe Saldana Will Be Released in December

"Nina," the Nina Simone biopic, starring Zoe Saldana, is coming to theaters this December, Entertainment Weekly reports. The film has been acquired by RLJ Entertainment and David Oyelowo (Selma, The Butler) stars in the film along side Saldana, in writer and director Cynthia Mort's debut film.

“I had the special privilege early in my career of working with Ms. Simone while coordinating a performance for former D.C. Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy and knowing first-hand of her major contribution to the soul and emotion of the Civil Rights Movement,” RLJE chairman Robert L. Johnson said in a statement. “I look forward as I am sure many others will, to her story and legacy being made available by RLJ Entertainment to consumers on various media platforms in the coming months.”

"Robert Johnson is passionate about this film and he is passionate about Nina Simone, so we are excited to be in business with him," producer Ben Latham-Jones said. "We believe he can bring the powerful performances of Zoe and David to as wide an audience as possible."

The biopic's release has been delayed multiple times due to casting changes and controversy. Mary J. Blige was originally slated to play Simone but she was replaced by Saldana due to scheduling conflicts which caused controversy due to Saldana's light skin and petite frame.
In an interview with InStyle Magazine, Saldana said this about the film: “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... 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.”

Photo: Ealing Studios