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Zoe Saldana Cast As Nina Simone In Upcoming Biopic, Actress Responds To Critics

by   Jul 3, 2014 09:28 AM EDT

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Rock and roll legend Fats Domino dies

Zoe Saldana was recently cast as Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic about the legendary jazz singer's life, and fans aren't too pleased. 

While Saldana's acting may not be an issue, fans and critics say she doesn't look the part noting her thin frame and fair skin. Similar skin-tone issues dogged Zendaya when she was tapped to star in Lifetime's Aaliyah biopic, a project she recently left for undisclosed reasons.

During a recent interview with Monarch magazine, Saldana discussed her latest role and even took the time to respond to her critics. 

"Nina was a true genius and an iconic artist. It was a dream job for me," she told the magazine. "I loved the complexity of Nina and her beauty that she expressed with her music. I wanted to do right by her and knew it would be challenging." 

Saldana told Monarch that she went through heavy training and preparation to master the role. She revealed that even took piano and voice lessons. 

As far as the critics, the actress simply dismissed their disapproval. 

"The Nina Simone story needed to be told, and I'm really blessed that I did it. I'm human. I wish I was made of steel and so certain things wouldn't affect me. So it did affect me, but I couldn't let that deter me from doing what I needed to do. 

Just like everybody else, I feel very strongly about Nina Simone, and that was a story that needed to be told. I do believe that if everybody had more information about how this all came to be, it might help; but then again, I'm not here to get the acceptance of everyone -- I'm here to be an artist first. Hopefully, people will enjoy the film and I helped shed some light on this amazing icon." 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Saldana's role isn't the only thing causing a stir with the film. 

Cynthia Mort, the director of the film, filed a lawsuit against the film's producer claiming she was left out of certain key decisions. 

Mort says as a result, she is not pleased with the direction of the film. 

She is seeking monetary damages as well as "a declaration that the defendants can't make decisions without her meaningful approval and consultation." 

No word yet on when the film will be released.

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