Mary J. Blige was originally slated to play the late music icon, but due to funding issues she’s “moved on,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Zoe Saldana will take her place.
Simone’s illustrious 40-plus-year career began in 1959 with the hit “I Loves You Porgy.” In the years to come she would produce more than 40 albums. Not only was she known for her music, but also for her passion for politics and Civil Rights. In 1993 she left America and relocated to Southern France where she lived out the rest of her days. She passed away in her sleep in 2003.
It’s unclear if Simone’s entire life will be captured or just select portions.
Despite previous bumps in the road, production is set to begin on October 16 in Los Angeles. The script for the film was written by Cynthia Mort and will be produced by Mark Burton, Barnaby Thompson, Stuart Parr and Ben Latham Jones. The biopic will also co-star David Oyelowo as Simone’s assistant and manager Clifton Henderson.
Saldana could not be reached for comment regarding her new role.