Zoe Saldana’s Nina Simone Biopic is in Trouble

By Jamilah King May 16, 2014

The trouble continues for Zoe Saldana’s Nina Simone biopic. First, Simone’s fans questioned Saldana’s casting in the lead role, noting that she looks nothing like the late singer — and photos of Zaldana with darker skin and a prosthetic nose certainly haven’t helped matters. Then, Simone’s daughter, Kelly, spoke out openly against the film’s supposed "love story," which she says didn’t actually exist in real life.

And now, ahead of the film’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, the film’s director, Cynthia Mort, has filed suit against its British producer Ealing Studios Enterprises Limited, alleging that the essentially company hijacked the film.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

According to the complaint, Mort, who co-wrote the feature film The Brave One and has worked on shows including Will and Grace and Roseanne, optioned Simone’s life story in 2005. That was two years after the singer behind such classics as Feeling Good and Sinner Man died. Mort says she worked for years to get the movie off the ground. It would not only cover Simone’s singing career, but also her role as a dedicated civil rights activist.

"She worked tirelessly to prepare the Film for a wide and successful commercial release," says the lawsuit. "Yet, throughout the course of the Film’s production and post-production, Defendants consistently acted to frustrate Mort’s involvement in the Film, thereby breaching the Director Agreement. These breaches by the Defendants include, but are not limited to: taking complete control of editing the Film in June 2013 and failing to consult with Mort about subsequent cuts and changes; abandoning Mort’s previous cuts of the Film; failing to disclose the Film’s financials, finishing budget, and financing deals; and failing to keep Mort informed of other crucial creative and budgetary developments and decisions throughout production and post-production of the Film."

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