The Queens, New York native who hails from a Dominican family, will play Simone while "Red Tails" actor David Oyelowo will star as her manager, Clifton Henderson. The film, according to sources, will focus primarily on Simone's relationship with Henderson, and will highlight Simone's activism (Harry will be happy). It is believed Mary J. Blige bowed out of the project while it was having financing issues. But now that has all been cleared up and production is set to begin in October in Los Angeles.
Nina Simone is one of our most beloved singer-songwriters who was a classically trained pianist and an intellectual. Referred to as the "High Priestess of Soul," she is viewed as the mother of storytelling musicians. Her iconic songs "Young, Gifted & Black," "My Baby Just Cares for Me," "Put A Spell On You," "Trouble In Mind," hold a unique place in American music history and for African American women in particular. "Someone has to holler and scream and say all the things we are thinking in our heads," wrote Valerie Simpson about Simone. She was a gifted musician who came of age during the Civil Rights and used her voice to speak out against its injustice. "She inspired other singers to do what they believed in," says Clifton Henderson, who was her assistant, then manager. He was by her side when she died in 2003 at the age of 70. "And she didn't mince words.
Zoe, known best for her role in "Drumline," "Star Trek," "Avatar" and in "Columbiana," just finished wrapping Star Trek's sequel and "Out of Furnace," a thriller starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck. While many may find it hard to see the lithe actress as Nina (there is no resemblance in physical features), something tells me this is the vehicle to set her up for an Oscar. There's something about Zoe, a steely strength that allows you to believe her as a warrior, a fighter. And in essence, that's exactly what Nina was.
What do you all think? Can Zoe pull it off?