It is not very often when stars come up and apologize for their actions, especially the ones they defended in the first place. Zoe Saldana made such an exception for playing the role of Nina Simone in her biopic, ‘Nina’, in 2016. The biopic was very controversial and Zoe had received plenty of backlashes because of playing Nina.
The major reason was their different skin colors and physical features. Zoe, back in 2016, denied being the wrong choice for the role whole-heartedly. She believed that being a black woman herself, there was nothing wrong with playing another black woman.
However, things have changed and Zoe Saldana does not think the same way anymore. The actress apologized for an Instagram interview for accepting that role and overlooking the problems associated with it. She believes that someone different and more relatable should have played Nina Simone’s role. She apologized to her fans and fans of Nina for making that mistake back in the time.
Zoe Saldana Apologizes
Zoe Saldana, back in 2016, defended her decision to play Nina. She said that she is a black woman and no one else can decide ‘how’ black she is. She is proud of her color and she can play the role of a black woman. She also retorted to the comments made on her prosthetic nose. She asked that if her prosthetic broad nose is unappealing then what do people consider beautiful and why?
However, in 2020, Zoe Saldana changed her views and evolved in her understanding. She apologized in an Instagram interview with Steven Canals. She said that someone else should have stepped up for the role. She mentioned that Nina was a strong black woman and some other black woman, who met even the minute details, should have played Nina.
Nina Simone & Zoe Saldana Controversy
When the cast of ‘Nina’ was revealed, there was a huge wave of criticism all over. Nina Simone was a beautiful black woman with strong and bold features. Zoe’s Puerto Rican decadency and genes make her less black than Nina. Also, her thin nose is nowhere in resemblance to Nina’s broad features. As a result, Zoe Saldana has to use a prosthetic nose and use skin darkening makeup.
The process did not sit well with many people including Nina’s estate and daughter. Nina’s daughter appreciated Zoe’s acting skills and beauty but said that someone with more relatability should play the role. Zoe tweeted Nina’s lyrics in a tweet to which Nina’s estate replied that Zoe should keep her name out of her mouth always.
Also, Nina had strong political views that she was never scared to share. But, Zoe has always maintained to be apolitical. All these controversies were put aside by the makers of the biopic and Zoe Saldana. She said that if Elizabeth Taylor can play Cleopatra then she could play a black woman. The makers even said that discrimination of black women on the basis of darker and lighter black shade is highly demeaning.
Biopic ‘Nina’ & its Disappointment
No matter how much Zoe Saldana and the makers tried to defend the biopic, it did not do the trick. ‘Nina’ was a disaster and the reason went deeper than just Zoe’s physical appearance. Zoe Saldana could not touch Nina’s style of voice. Nina’s relationship with Clifton Henderson, played by David Oyelowo, is also portrayed poorly.
There is no chemistry between Zoe and Oyelowo and the audience could not connect to their relationship. The biopic isn’t just a love story and there are other elements too. The repercussion of racism and Nina’s political theories are covered in the biopic.
However, they have been synchronized and directed in a disappointing fashion. The biopic seemed so off that people could not even connect with Nina when her mental health was being diagnosed.