Cynthia Mort, director of the upcoming biopic "Nina," has been forced to defend her choice of Saldana for the title role following a wave of criticism, including from the late singer's daughter Simone Kelly. Now Arie has waded into the controversy after seeing photographs of the "Avatar" actress wearing prosthetics while filming the movie, insisting Saldana looks "weird."
In a message posted on NinaSimone.com, she writes, "I saw the images of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone... and I think they are ridiculous! Yes there should be a movie made, and yes they should have chosen someone who LOOKS like Nina Simone, especially since her race played such a pivotal role in who, what and why, she was.
"That aside for a second, this just looks WEIRD, it looks like a person in Black(er) face with a fake nose... REALLY?!!!! Does not the one Nina Simone's (sic) legacy deserve better than this?... But these images... just make me feel... SAD. Not because I want to play Nina Simone but because it feels out of place with what Nina Simone means in an African American historical context!!!!"
I started off thinking so be it, but after seeing the photos I am disturbed. This is horrible. I love Zoe, but she has no business in this role. I pray that she delivers but it's a long shot. This is not about her acting ability but the image and role that Nina portrayed. This role should have been cast with someone that looked like her and could sing. It is the story of a real person not fictional. The audience needs to see NINA SIMONE when they watch, not a character in blackface. I am a fairskinned, thin nosed woman, this is not a baised opinion for I would be critizing my own image. I'm saddened that this discussion needs to be had at all. The casting director, producer, director, whomever is in charge should have never chosen this road.