First Trailer for NINA Starring Zoe Saldana

After getting a look at Don Cheadle's terrific-seeming Miles Ahead which chronicles the life and times of jazz musician Miles Davis a month ago we now have our first look at another highly anticipated music biopic in writer/director Cynthia Mort's Nina. While Mort may be a first time director she has been working in the industry for well over a decade as a writer on Roseanne with her previous feature credit being the Jodie Foster-starrer The Brave One. Mort clearly has an inclination to tell stories about strong women and Nina Simone is no exception. Simone or the High Priestess of Soul as she was known to many, was a singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist who worked in a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. It's slightly surprising a movie hasn't already been made of this woman's life given her death in 2003, but that may also be due to the fact this film in particular has been in development hell for quite some time. Mary J. Blige was originally set to star, but had to drop out as far back as 2011. Why Blige wasn't re-enlisted when the film wasn't made because of her absence is a mystery, but rather Puerto Rican and Dominican descendant Zoe Saldana was cast and you can bet there is a fair amount of controversy surrounding that decision. What's even worse is that it's clear the team behind the film have significantly darkened the actress' skin in order for Saldana to better resemble Simone. While there will be much talk swirling around the film prior to its release the trailer does hint at a rather solid performance from Saldana if not a typical cradle to grave narrative. That said, I'm looking forward to seeing how this production turned out and if it will be good enough to overcome the bigger discussion currently happening. Nina also stars Mike Epps, David Oyelowo, Ronald Guttman, Ella Thomas and opens on April 22nd, 2016.


Synopsis: The story of the late jazz musician and classical pianist Nina Simone including her rise to fame and relationship with her manager Clifton Henderson.