Zoe Saldana Is Apparently Taking Over For Mary J. Blige To Play Nina Simone. Last we reported on this project, it had been financed to the tune of $10 million, had been cast (Mary J. Blige & David Oyelowo in the starring roles), and was booked to start filming at the end of May last year, much to the chagrin of a lot of you folks.
That obviously DID NOT happen, as was initially reported.
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Why? It had to be delayed until October, because, as you may recall, Mary J Blige later signed on to co-star in Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise and the rest of that film’s cast.
I tend to get a little worried about projects that, at first, are announced as sure-things, and then get pushed around for one reason or another, no matter how valid.
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Skip ahead to earlier today, around mid-day, when S&A reader Akimbo posted a comment on an old Nina Simone post saying that Zoe Saldana had taken over for Mary J, but without a source link.
That’s a rumor I’d heard previously, but didn’t want to post until I had further confirmation. After Akimbo’s comment, I was able to verify via 2 separate sources (1 a crew member who is attached to work on the project), that Zoe Saldana is attached to star as Nina Simone in the same film that has long been in development, with Cynthia Mort, whose credits include writing and producing several episodes of popular TV series like Roseanne and Will And Grace, still listed as the screenwriter and director of the project.
If you recall, the film will focus on Simone’s relationship with Paris-based manager Clifton Henderson who will be played by Oyelowo.Still no official announcement just yet; however, if my sources are correct, and this actually moves forward, I’d need some convincing that Zoe Saldana can embody Nina Simone. The choice makes little sense to me.
So much for our recommendation that Adepero Oduye star as Nina Simone.
But stay tuned; I’m working to get the full story on this… assuming there is one.