Between disputes with her estate and angry fans, the unauthorized biopic of Nina Simone continues to make headlines. In the July Issue of InStyle magazine, Zoe Saldana admits she was surprised she got the lead role despite her self-doubt.
“I didn’t think I was right for the part, and I know a lot of people will agree, but then again, I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra either,” said Saldana.
Directed by Cynthia Mort, Nina has drawn harsh criticism from many fans and music critics, including Simone’s own family. When set images of Saldana as Simone surfaced in 2012, fans created an online petition called “Boycott the Nina Simone Movie,” which garnered 10,000 signatures.
“An artist is colorless, genderless… It’s more complex than just ‘Oh, you chose the Halle Berry look-alike to play a dark, strikingly beautiful, iconic black woman.’ The truth is, they chose an artist who was willing to sacrifice herself,” said Saldana. “We needed to tell her story because she deserves it.”
Simone’s beautiful voice led her to a career that expanded over four decades, leaving behind a massive repertoire of songs that include, “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “Feeling Good” and “Sinner Man.” Simone died in 2003 at the age of 70.
The InStyle issue is set to hit newsstands June 12.