Actress who portrayed Nina Simone in biopic regrets her role: “She deserves better”

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AFP / J.-B. Lacroix

Actress Zoë Saldana has apologized in an interview for her portrayal of Nina Simone in the 2016 biopic ‘Nina’. For the role of the iconic African-American artist, she wore darkening make-up, a nasal prosthesis and fake teeth.

In an interview with media platform BESE, Saldana, who identifies as ‘Afro-Latina’, expressed regret about the casting. “I should never have taken that role,” said the actress, known for her role in the blockbuster “Avatar” and her portrayal of superheroine Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “I might have had less influence on the casting 10 years ago, but I should have judged otherwise. I should have used all my influence to steer the casting towards a black actress who would portray an exceptionally perfect black woman. ” Saldana has lighter pigmented skin than Simone had.

Initially she had thanked for the role, but afterwards she tacked. There was a lot of criticism of the casting, including Simon’s daughter. In 2012 she sneered at the role of Saldana in The New York Times: “In her early years, my mother was told that her nose was too wide and her skin too dark … Not the best choice for your looks, so.”

“More than one way to be black”

At the time, Saldana answered her critics in Allure Magazine: “There is more than one way to be black. I’m black as I’ve known it all my life. You have no idea who I am. Don’t think you can address me with such a dedain. ”

But the spirits have matured and Saldana has repented: “I thought I was eligible for the part because I’m black,” she tells BESE. “And that’s me. But I played Nina Simone. And Nina has walked a life path that must be respected down to the smallest details. ”

Nina Simone passed away in 2003. The musician and civil rights activist has released over 40 albums spanning a wide range of genres throughout her long career, from classical and jazz to blues, folk, R&B and gospel to pop.

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