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watch the trailer for controversial Nina Simone biopic starring Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana as Simone in 'Nina'
Zoe Saldana as Simone in ‘Nina’

There’s been some controversy lately over the upcoming Nina Simone biopic Nina, which, after sitting on the shelf for a couple years, is finally set to be released on April 22 in theaters and on VOD. Zoe Saldana plays the singer with David Oyelowo appearing as her manager. From the beginning the film has been dogged by criticism and controversy over Saldana’s lack of resemblance to Nina and lack of singing experience. Back in 2012, Nina’s daughter Lisa Simone Kelly was quoted in The New York Times saying “My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide [and] her skin was too dark. Appearance-wise, this is not the best choice.” This was followed by the fact that Saldana used makeup to darken her skin and used a prosthetic nose on set which, while makeup effects can be par for the course with biopics, continued to brew up controversy.

Well, a couple days ago the trailer was released, and Nina’s estate continues to not be pleased, tweeting “Please take Nina’s name out your mouth. For the rest of your life,” and later “Hopefully people begin to understand this is painful. Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, nauseating, soul-crushing.” This is hardly the first example of a musician’s (or any other famous person, for that matter) camp taking issue with their on-screen depiction, but it does seem to be one of the more pronounced negative responses in recent memory. You can check out the trailer below and see what all the fuss is about for yourself.

As always, there’s a slew of other music biopics on the way. The Miles Davis and Chet Baker movies are set to screen at SXSW shortly, and there’s that Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light (starring Brit thesp Tom Hiddleston as the country great) on the way to a theatrical release on March 25. That one premiered in Toronto last year to extremely tepid reviews, so maybe don’t get your hopes up.

Are you excited for any of these? Check out trailers for Nina and I Saw the Light below.

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