The first trailer for Nina, a biopic largely centered around Nina Simone's relationship with her former nurse-turned-manager Clifton Henderson, is finally here. The movie, which was directed by Cynthia Mort, will star Zoe Saldana as Simone. David Oyelowo (Selma) will play Henderson.
It's been a long time coming
The movie has been plagued with production problems since its inception, and its release has been delayed several times. In 2010, Mary J. Blige was originally set to play Nina, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, according to Entertainment Weekly. When Saldana was cast in the role, several people raised concerns with the choice to have a light-skinned actress portray Simone, whose darker skin was a crucial part of her music. To make Saldana look more like Simone, make-up artists had to apply dark makeup to her body and face; she also wore a prosthetic nose for the role.
Nina Simone's daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly (who served as an executive producer on last year's Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?), reportedly also had problems with the casting choice, and with the tone of the script, which seems to give Henderson much of the credit for Simone's career later in life.
Nina is set to open in theaters on April 22nd.