Zoe Saldana to play Nina Simone?
August 16th, 2012
01:48 PM ET

Zoe Saldana to play Nina Simone?

Zoe Saldana better start warming up her vocal chords.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress will star in the upcoming Nina Simone biopic.

A long time in the making, the film will also reportedly feature “Red Tails” actor David Oyelowo as the iconic jazz singer’s manager, Clifton Henderson.

Mary J. Blige was originally attached to the biopic's title role.

Simone, who died in 2003, recorded more than 40 live and studio albums in her 70 years. She’s known for hits like “Little Girl Blue” and “Love Me or Leave Me.”

What do you think of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone?

Filed under: movies

soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Angela Treuter

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    April 20, 2013 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
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    October 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dick

    nicole kidman – she can sing, act, and carry a movie. if robert downey jr. can play a black man in TROPIC THUNDER, then nicole can play this part.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. template

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    September 27, 2012 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tony W

    Does Zoe Saldana Knows who is Nina Simone is? because to know her is to love her.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • eddie j.

      Please remember that Hollywood was bold enough to have two actresses portray Cleopatra,who don't look anything like her,as far as facts are concerned. Angelina Jolie would've been the third actress,but she might have cussed them out,because she was'nt trying to perpetrate a fraud.So if they really tell this lie also,i would'nt be surprised at all...In the words of the classic Public Enemy jam,"Burn Hollywood,Burn"!!!!

      September 19, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dzhae

    I think we should forget how pretty zoe is a focus on if she can do it, and she might be able too if it was for a dorothy dandrige biography but this one I think they should really consider someone else for this one like Adepero Oduye or Anika Noni Rose but this movie might not come out right if zoe plays nina , ninas voice was deeper even when she sings.

    August 21, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. out.

    if its who i think it is i'll step out...call me on the cell.

    August 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Out..

    anyone want to hang tomorrow night?

    August 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Folks?

    Keeping her quiet until the next part right?

    August 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Heavy Thoughts

    this actress doesn't connect well with the part.

    August 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Betty

    Lindsay Lohan would be better. She is far more accomplished than these colored sisters.

    August 19, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tom

    What about Salma Hayek? She is an incredible actress and far more attractive than any of those mentioned. She already has brownish skin and can be darkened further with a spray in tan. Plus Salma won't spend most of the time getting jigggy.

    August 19, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Mccormick

      Salma hayek is nowhere near brown! brown has a limit! nia long,gabrielle union,alek wek,queen latifah,etc are brown!! salma is ver fair! she is of spaniard blood!!! you really are dumb! salma is a latina and she has lebanese roots! which is white!
      her and lindsay would be absurd to be used
      there are many REAL brown skinned women! Im surprised you didnt say nicole kidman! if someone is brown you wouldnt need to put brown foundation on them would you?

      August 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bliss46

    Respectfully stated, Zoe Saldana is a beautiful, Dominican and a good actress. With that said, the essence of Nina Simone will be lost as her life strikes me as one who dared to "BE" and soar using her gifts in the her own skin-one that was not desired in that day and time; and alas, it appears in this day and time as well.

    Blessings to Ms. Saldana as she is to be applauded for challenging herself in such a role.....

    August 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. shadow0801

    As usual there seems to be a problem with Hollywood thinking that the only people that can blacks are other races....and the crazy thing about is folks think its ok!!!!

    August 18, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. idrissa35653

    Try again. She's not dark skinned like Nina Simone and if the producers think they can pass off this revisionist history they are about to be shocked by the BOYCOTT that's coming!

    August 18, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Ling Quan

      I agree. They should have chosen an Asian actress. Many beautiful fair skinned Asian ladies out there. Maybe Lucy Lu. She is cute. Plus all the black guys like Asian women better.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Start using Brown-skinned actresses!

      I agree with your comment. Jennifer Hudson should have been the #1 choice!

      August 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Zoe

    Zoe can make it go deep. she's excellent

    August 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  17. egolite

    Zoe Saldana is soooo miscast. She doesn't have the emotional complexity to play such 'deep' and troubled person. Viola Davis is perfect for the role. What the hell were they thinking? Does Zoe have a deal somewhere?

    As far as others complaining about not casting a white person, they're just talking for the sake of riling people up. Nobody in their right mind would cast a white woman in this role.

    August 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  18. WLM

    Zoe is a great actress. I am sure they want her to play the younger version but I think there are a few better choices, maybe Jennifer Hudson( and she can actually sing) I mean the colour differences between Zoe and Nina are so different I cant even see how they thought this would be a good choice...

    August 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Johan

    I think it's a lazy casting effort. Let's start with accurate 'likeness' to the great Nina Simone...NOT!!! My first casting choice is Viola Davis (Oscar nominee for 'The Help'). Brilliant for the acting role and accurate for similar physical characteristics. How is this hard for casting directors???????????????????????

    August 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      i agree with the Jessica Simpson choice. She shouldn't be overlooked just because of her skin color.

      August 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Leon Peris

    She is our top star and we are proud.

    August 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • egolite

      Just because she's your top star doesn't make her right for the part. BIIIIG MISTAKE

      August 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ling Quan

      Lucy Lu is bigger star. And much much prettier. Lighter softer features. More feminine. And doesn't look like she just escape gorilla cage.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  21. mochaprincezz

    ok after asking around my office so many people are unaware of who nina is so i am posting....this is wrong as has been done wrong many times before and unless you have walked in the shoes of a brown sking to darker skinned woman you would not understand- lets put it this way its as if you would ask a frail yound brown skinned girl to play marilyn monroe-get it -good

    August 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      so you ate saying Woody Harrelson probably be a good choice for MLK ? I disagree. Woody would turn in a powerful performance. Of course he is no Randy Quaid, but he wild still do a good job.

      August 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  22. SAE

    no. absolutely not.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Smack-it-up-Flip-it-Rub-it-down


    August 17, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  24. Smack-it-up-Flip-it-Rub-it-down

    This role would've been perfect for Mary J. Blige, or Queen Latifah is she lost a few pounds. Zoe Saldana is cute, but this is a total miscast...... hollywood execs are sooooo stupid!

    August 17, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  25. mia in California

    Since some of the folks on here would love for a white woman to play an obviously black woman is like having Whoopie Goldberg play Sophia Loren and Angela Basset play Marilyn Monroe.

    August 17, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Sounds ok to me. I'd love to see the Foxy Brown actress as Marilyn.

      August 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      amd Whoopie is genuine awesome regardless of who she plays. She is likeable and incredible. The best.

      August 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  26. viewyscrew

    Let's take a poll! How many of you out there in "I need to come up with a reason to bash somethingland" have been hired to do the casting for movies? Hmmm, that's what I thought. Blatant disrespect and racist...how ignorant can you be. @PP – the longer you rant the worse it got. Start using the KISS principle.

    August 17, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Big Shiz

      Whats blatant disrespect and racism is the replacement of dark skinned women in hollywood for light skinned or white women. They dont want to show any thing thats to black. Its the same reason they show white men with black women but hardly ever show black men with white women(even though theres 10 times as many black male white female couples).

      August 17, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  27. Shadow0801aka

    There is no way in hell you can't tell me there isn't an African American that can play Nina Simone!!!!!! This woman can't sing....she has NO clue who Ms.Simone is...she they have to blacken her face.....she is a hott mess and if she has any class she would turn the part down!!!!

    August 17, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • blackwomenunite

      There are plenty and I mean plenty of talented black women in hollywood trying to make it in that industry that could play this role. What people fail to realize is that for the past 10 years or so Ms. Salzana has played the role of a black woman in a half a dozen or so movies that made it to the big screen and SHE IS NOT BLACK. Some of the movies she did this in are- Guess Who, Haven, Takers, The Losers, Star Trek, Drumline and so on and so forth. These were roles for a black woman and they chose to give it to her a Latina. So is there any suprise that this is what they are trying to do. People wake up BLACK WOMEN wake up... these idiots in the hollywood land are trying to make you feel devalued and alot of black women are falling for it. Its time to take your roles back. This is a slap in the face to black women in the movie industry and black women in general who are tired of this happening to our roles in society. There are sooooo many talented and beautiful black women/actors out there who are so mistreated by this industry that they deserve to be a part of that it doesnt make any sense, And as a black women if you are not equally as disappointed and outraged by this as I am then somthing is wrong with you.

      September 2, 2012 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  28. Mark

    Why wasn't Dave Chapelle picked? He is way funny.

    August 17, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  29. Nancy

    I am a white woman and feel the powerful sting of racism everyday. this whole article just proves how we are discriminated against. Not choosing a white person for a job just because they are white. It is wrong. Martin Luther King fought against this type of injustice. Racism of any type is just wrong.

    August 17, 2012 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
    • jay


      August 17, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Shadow0801aka

      Nancy please.....this isn't the 1960's....its about picking the best person to play the part and Zoe isn't the one....and anyway the family is totally againist it anyway....which I don't blame them one bit..

      August 17, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • toshi

      that has got to be one of the dumbest statements ever... so a white person should play a balck person.. and put black makeup on to make them look black.. yeah ok.. and that will open up a bigger can of worms.. are you serious.. WOW!!

      August 17, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Electra

      Lol. Nancy is a troll people.

      August 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Amy

    I agree with those wo say it is wrong they didn't even consider a lighter skinned actress. Miley Cirus, Kate Blanchet, etc. many excellent white actresses were shut out of this role because of racism.

    August 17, 2012 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  31. Angeline

    Zoe Saldana should not play Nina Simone. It's an insult! Was she the only actress who auditioned for the role? Nicki Micheaux (Lincoln Heights) would be perfect for the adult version. The girl from Pariah, Adepero Oduye, would be perfect for the younger Nina. Both talented women who look the part. Why is Hollywood so colorstruck? There's finally a role made for a dark skinned natural black woman, but they decide to give the role to light skinned long haired woman. Dark skinned actresses can't seem to catch a break unless the role is demeaning or stereotypical it seems. Ridiculous! It's like they have a select group of black actresses that they give all of the big roles too.

    August 17, 2012 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Chantal

      Jessica Sumpson should have gotten the part. She can act and sing.

      August 17, 2012 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
    • for the love of god

      thank you! i have no idea why all of these white actresses are being considered for a role of a beautiful black woman like nina simone. what is wrong with you people? are you suggesting we use blackface? there are plenty of talented black actresses with far more "colored" features (wide noses, dark skin) than zoe saldana, and definitely far more qualified than a jessica simpson. give me a break. i'm going back over to the new york times webpage.

      August 19, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  32. @Big Shiz

    I just came from the elephant pen at the zoo. Man they sure do leave a big shiz behind. Takes a really big shovel to scoop it up.

    August 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Shiz

      Every time theres a blog on cnn about any one black the racist haters com

      August 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Shiz

      My falt,every time theres a blog on cnn about anyone black the racist haters come out the woodwork and and one brave enough to speak out is sujected to this type of hatered.nina simone is not only one of the strongest black women to ever live but also one of the greatest singers and song writers to ever live

      August 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • 8: 44

      One "racist" callIng another "racíst" a "racist"... "PrIceless"!

      August 17, 2012 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Big Shiz

      @8: 44 what did I sey that was racist?

      August 17, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • @@8: 44

      Sorry, I should have kept my nose out of it and myob. It’s between you and this other person. My apologies. Good night.

      August 17, 2012 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  33. Mary

    And just why wasn't a white woman considered for this part? I think it is racism. There are many fine white actresses out there that could have done a powerful performance.

    August 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Shiz

      Are you stupid?

      August 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Yes. Thanks for noticing. : )

      August 17, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Kizzee29

      The same reason black women are NEVER considered for roles for white women.

      August 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • neurofred

      Such a thing has been done, Mary (one example: Claudette Colbert in "Cleopatra" (1934)). Putting a white person in a role to place Nina Simone just gets a little far removed from reality.

      August 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  34. hackie kitty

    looks good...can't wait to see it

    August 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Daneetra

    They need to get a dark skinned sista like me to plays the part. I know all about the so called African American experience. Just ask my mom and gramma. We know what it is like. You can be sure most high yellas or obama don't.

    August 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Shiz

      Like we dont know this is white man trying to make black women look bad

      August 16, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • blackwomenunite

      Being a light skinned black female, I find all of these comments about getting a white woman to play this role are simply ridiculous and just about as ridiculous as them getting Zoe Saldana (a brown skinned Latina) to play this role. This role should be played by a black woman, who actually looks like Nina Simone. Thats how they cast every other role in Holly(no room for black women)wood.

      September 3, 2012 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
  36. Laquecia

    I heard Nina was dating a ahite guy in the klan.

    August 16, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  37. BOHWE


    August 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Avacatoes

      Oh boooo hoooo you cry babies. Nina was just another performer like the rest of us.

      August 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  38. pp

    According to simone kelly , the story is false, nina didn't have a romantic relationship with this man. And it's basically an insult to who and what nina simone stood for. This movie is based on fiction. For all reasoning the movie about this strong revolutionary should be portrayed by a woman who favors nina simon, with a script that is based on truth. If this movie is made, i will boycott. this is disrespect at it's finest. How dare they disrespect Nina Simone like this, did they even know her, her daughter , her race, her mentality. Hollywood is racist, even our own stories are stole and white washed. i can't take hollywood racism anymore. And Hollywood think blacks folks should jump up and dowsn, because atleast us good black women can play maids , helping out the good ol white folks.

    August 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • @@8: 44

      Sorry, I should have kept my nose out of it and myob. It's between you and this other person. My apologies. Good night.

      August 17, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • @@8: 44

      Oops..sorry my post was meant for big shiz @ 1: 25 am

      August 17, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Ling Quan

      I heard that too. That she may have been dating some white guy and possibly was sad because society wouldn't accept their love. And that maybe its why she sang sad blues music. If that story is true, it really is a shame. With more upbeat songs and a peppy tempo, she may have become as great and talented as Lady GaGa.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  39. Marilyn

    Viola Davis, India Arie, Erykah Badu, or Angela Basset are my pics to play Nina Simone. Bary J Blige would of been good
    too. I love Zoe Saldana but I'm not sure shes a good fit for the role. Nina Simone was not just dark, but very deep.

    August 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Missy

      I think Jessica Simpson would have won an Oscar if given the part. It could have been her breakout role.

      August 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Disappointed 1

    I am disappointed. I was really looking forward to Mary J Blige playing this role. SHe has acted beofre, so she has experience AND she can sing. I thought it was a win win.

    August 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • bee

      Your kidding .. right? they want people to actually come to see the movie.

      August 17, 2012 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  41. 1twinsfan

    Hey, Sinnerman - Viola Davis would make a great Nina Simone.

    August 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  42. grassisbrown

    she's not dark enough...

    August 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  43. LMOffner

    Need an Actress who can sing or a Singer who can act-India Arie

    August 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  44. BankerMel

    Should have gone with Whoopee or Olivia Davis

    August 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  45. shareing

    I've only ever seen Saldana in Avatar and Colombiana, and I thought both were lame. They should have gone with Sanna Lathan, she can act.

    August 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Hallie's back


    August 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Guest

    who cares

    August 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  48. ajoi2bme


    August 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Jasmine

    Getting light complexioned actors to play the roles of dark complexioned historical figures is not only a sign of blatant disrespect to the persons they are portraying, but it is also disrespectful to their families, to history, to the people who look like the persons being whitewashed, and to the intelligence of the audience. Nina Simone embraced her dark skin. She faced ridicule and discrimination because of her color and held her head up high. Your casting of anyone other than one of the myraid of talented dark skinned actresses dishonors her memory.This is not a diss to Zoe Saldana. She is an excellent actress, but this movie role so much bigger than her undeniable talent.

    August 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • minnie

      Shoulda got whoopie.

      August 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Shiz

      The only person that should be allowed to play nina simone is eryka badu

      August 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Koko

      I agree – I like Zoe Saldana – she's beautiful – BUT SHE'S Dominican & Puerto Rican, being a Puerto Rican girl myself I I back her career, but as a Nina Simone fan and in general, they should have picked a strong black woman – that's who Nina was, and I'm sure she'd be turning over in her grave if she saw this – probably why she didn't live in America for the last years of her life!

      August 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • jasmine = the village idiot

      Geezes..seríously? I don't thInk anyone was even thínkíng her skín Is líghter. I sure wasn't thinking anything about ít lookÌng at the pícs, only when I read your stupíd comment. Couldn't you have excepted it as an honor and say something positive? No, that would be too hard.

      August 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brown-skinned girl

      To whom ever responded to your comment (Jasmine= village idiot) just doesn't get the significance of skin color in the Black community historically or uneven presently, especially where women are concerned! Zoë is not "ethnic-looking" to accurately portray a very dominate part of Nina’s life. It matters a great deal based on the color biases of the times that this bit of information is true to history.

      August 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daneetra

      That be right. It Hollywood racism. I'm sure CNN will deletes all of this like my other post. It don't matter. Tomorrow I will go clean white folks houses and they will be happy. That's all that matters. Lets just make the rich whits and Jews happy.

      August 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Observer

    She's purrrty...

    August 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |

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