Actress Zoe Saldana has apologized for playing Nina Simone in a highly criticized 2016 biopic.
The Marvel star, of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent, wore a prosthetic nose and darkening makeup for the role.
Simone’s estate refused to approve the film, and the singer’s daughter questioned the casting decision.
In a new interview, originally broadcast live on Instagram, Saldana said, “I should never have played Nina.
“I should have done everything in my power with the lever I had 10 years ago, which was a different lever, but it was still a lever.
“I should have done everything in my power to choose a black woman to play an exceptionally perfect black woman. ”
Writing on Nina Simone’s official Facebook page in 2012, singer’s daughter Simone Kelly wrote: “I love Zoe Saldana, we all love Zoe… From Avatar to Colombiana, I’ve seen these movies many times. .
“But not all projects are for everyone. And I know what my mother would think. I just don’t understand. ”
The film, called Nina, has been derided by critics and holds a 2% rating on the critics’ aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.
Saldana, who also starred in Guardians of the Galaxy and two of Marvel’s Avengers films, said Simone “deserved better.”
“I thought at the time that I had permission [to play her] because I was a black woman, ”Saldana said.
“And I am. But it was Nina Simone. And Nina had a life and she had a journey that should have – and should be – honored in every detail because she was such a detailed person. ”
Becoming moved, Saldana added, “That said: I’m sorry. I am really sorry. I know better today and will never do it again.
“She’s one of our giants and someone else should step in. Someone else should tell their story. “
Saldana’s regret for the role marks a departure from her previous comments defending her role in the film.
In 2013, she told Latina magazine, “Let me tell you, if Elizabeth Taylor can be Cleopatra, I can be Nina – I’m sorry. It doesn’t matter how I react to it. I will honor and respect my black community because that’s who I am. ”
In another interview with Allure in 2016, she said, “There isn’t just one way to be black. You have no idea who I am. I am black. I raise black men. Do you ever think that you can look at me and address me with such disdain. ”
But upon the film’s release, Nina Simone’s estate tweeted, “Please get Nina’s name out of your mouth. For the rest of your life. I hope people will begin to understand that this is painful. crushing the soul. ”
Nina Simone was a revered singer and civil rights activist, known for her songs such as Feelin ‘Good, I put A Spell On You and I Loves You, Porgy.
She died in 2003 at the age of 70.
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