At the time of the film's release, Simone's estate called Saldana's casting "nerve-wracking, heartbreaking, disgusting, soul-destroying".
Actress Zoe Saldana announced that she regrets ever having starred as Nina Simone in Cynthia Mort's controversial biopic "Nina" from 2016. The actress discussed her role – which required a nasal prosthesis, false teeth, and makeup to darken her skin – in a recent Instagram live conversation hosted by B-ESE with Steven Canals, co-creator of Pose.
"I should never have played Nina," said Saldana (via Entertainment Weekly). "I should have done everything I could with the leverage I had 10 years ago – which was a different (amount of) leverage, but it was still a leverage. I should have tried everything I could to make a black woman an extraordinarily perfect black woman. "
When she was cast in 2012 after replacing Mary J. Blige, Saldana already had mixed feelings about taking over the High Priestess of the Soul. But the distance to the film and its notoriously botched production led to the necessary considerations. "That is (growth) and it is painful. At the time I thought I had permission because I was a black woman and I am. But it was Nina Simone and Nina had a life and she had a journey that went to the end even the smallest detail should and should have been honored because she was a specifically detailed person about her voice, her opinions, her views, her music – and her art – and she was so honest. She deserved better. "
At the time of the film's release, Nina Simone's estate was on Twitter to decipher the casting. "Please take Nina's name out of your mouth. For the rest of your life. Hopefully people will begin to understand that this is painful. Abdominal pain, heartache, nausea, soul destruction. It will go away, but for now." The film was inevitably shredded by critics , with a whopping 2% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Simone's daughter Lisa Simone Kelly defended Saldana against criticism in a time interview back in 2016. "It is unfortunate that Zoe Saldana is attacked so viciously when she is someone who is part of a bigger picture," said Kelly. "It is clear that she did her best for this project, but unfortunately she will be attacked if she is not responsible for the writing or the lies."
During Instagram chat (see below), Saldana got emotional when she heartily apologized to Simone's family and fans. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry because I love your music," she said. "It wasn't enough. Nevertheless, she is one of our giants and someone else should reinforce herself. Someone else should tell her story."