The biopic Nina had a rough start when controversy erupted over Dominican actress Zoe Saldana landing the lead role as Nina Simone. The film, which continues to receive backlash despite the success of Netflix’s documentary What Happened, Miss Simone, has been in production for years and has finally set a release date.
Addressing the controversy, Saldana told BET, “An artist is colorless, genderless… It’s more complex that just ‘Oh, you chose the Halle Berry look-a-like to play a dark, strikingly beautiful, iconic Black woman.’ The truth is they chose an artist who was willing to sacrifice herself. We needed to tell her story because she deserves it.”
In 2012 Entertainment Weekly revealed photos of Saldana’s transformation, which included getting a prosthetic nose and skin-darkening make-up. Tuesday, EW released the film’s first poster on Instagram, profiling the actress in character, which received some mixed reviews in the comments from both fans and protestors.
It will be interesting to see whether the film achieves success as diversity, or more accurate representation on screen has been a forefront issue in Hollywood. The recently released film Gods of Egypt faced similar opposition before debuting in theaters and is currently, to put it bluntly, flopping.
Nina, also starring David Oyelowo, is set to be released in theaters April 22.
You can watch the new trailer of Nina here.