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Nina (2016) Poster

(I) (2016)

Trivia

Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina Simone's daughter, disavowed the project on grounds it was a dishonest look at her mother's life, particularly in the storyline involving a turbulent romantic relationship between Nina and Clifton Henderson (in real life, Henderson was gay and was Nina's confidant but never her lover). As a result, Simone's family was not consulted during the film's production. While the family said publicly they didn't have any personal issues with Saldana, they didn't agree with her casting because Nina Simone had much darker skin than Saldana and they felt the choice was an attempt to erase what Nina Simone herself called "essential blackness" from the movie.
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According to daughter Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina had often hoped that one day Whoopi Goldberg would portray her on film.
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Casting Zoe Saldana as the legendary Nina Simone caused major backlash and controversy in the African-American community because of Saldana's skin color. Saldana, who is of Puerto Rican and Dominican ancestry, is much lighter than Simone and wore dark makeup to resemble her. When Saldana tweeted that she was honored to portray Simone, the Nina Simone Foundation replied, "Dear Zoe, please keep Nina's name out of your mouth for the rest of your life."

Lisa Simone Kelly would later defend Saldana clarifying that it was unfortunate that Zoe Saldana was being attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a larger picture," Simone Kelly told Time Magazine. "It's clear she brought her best to this project, but unfortunately she's being attacked when she's not responsible for any of the writing or the lies."

Simone Kelly clarified that the harsh tweet aimed at Saldana from the official and verified Nina Simone Twitter account came not from the Simone estate but a family friend who was hired to run the singer's social media.
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Mary J. Blige was cast first but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
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In May 2014, director Cynthia Mort sued production company Ealing Studios Enterprises Limited for breach of her director deal. Mort, who got approval rights over the final shooting script, the cast and crew, the line producer, the designer and all department heads and was given consulting rights on advertising, distribution, shooting schedule and budget, was removed by the production company during the editing process in June 2013 and wasn't consulted about subsequent cuts and changes. Mort's previous cuts were abandoned. Mort claims that therefore the final film version doesn't reflect her vision of Simone as a woman, musician and civil rights activist.
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Directorial debut of Cynthia Mort.
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