Zoe Saldana fiercely defends her role as Nina Simone
Zoe Saldana has set the record straight on why she chose to play Nina Simone in the biopic Nina.
After years of being dragged for taking on the role, Saldana received some of the harshest criticism after the movie’s trailer came out this year. But she doesn’t regret it.
“The script probably would still be lying around, going from office to office, agency to agency, and nobody would have done it,” says Saldana in a new interview with Allure magazine. “Female stories aren’t relevant enough, especially a Black female story.”
“I made a choice. Do I continue passing on the script and hope that the ‘right’ black person will do it, or do I say, ‘You know what? Whatever consequences this may bring about, my casting is nothing in comparison to the fact that this story must be told.'”
In the interview, Saldana responded to a tweet from Simone’s official Twitter account telling her to “take Nina’s name out your mouth.”
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“There’s no one way to be Black,” she told the magazine.
“I’m Black the way I know how to be,” she added. “You have no idea who I am. I am Black. I’m raising Black men. Don’t you ever think you can look at me and address me with such disdain.”
She continued on by saying, “Nina looks like half my family!”
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Then, addressing complaints about the prosthetic nose she wore to play the role, Saldana said, “But if you think the [prosthetic] nose I wore was unattractive, then maybe you need to ask yourself, What do you consider beautiful? Do you consider a thinner nose beautiful, so the wider you get, the more insulted you become?”
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The interview also delves into Saldana’s backstory of immigrating from the Dominican Republic as a child after her father died, fighting to have a voice in Hollywood as a woman and embracing the latest challenge of motherhood to twin baby boys.
“I have a strong sense of self,” she says. “I have no problem admitting my errors; just have respect for me. If I am just like wallpaper, there’s no need for me to be here. It’s kind of like that Nina Simone song—you’ve got to learn to leave the table when love isn’t being served.”