Zoe Saldana has faced immense criticism over her casting as music legend Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic Nina. But now fans can have a more informed opinion by watching the film’s debut trailer, via Today.
Nina follows Simone through her iconic career, focusing on a period of isolation while living in France, as she struggles to balance music and political activism. At her lowest, she finds inspiration from assistant-turned-manager Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo), and that crucial relationship anchors the trailer.
Simone pays Henderson $2,000 per month to handle her affairs. “What happened, Nina?” he asks, noting her weakened reputation in the industry. “Why are you playing in front of 100 people and not 20,000?”
Nina, which hits theaters April 22nd, has faced numerous obstacles in its development. Mary J. Blige was originally attached to the title role but backed out due to scheduling conflicts. Saldana was hired in 2012, but the casting faced widespread criticism over her singing inexperience and lack of resemblance to the singer. (Saldana reportedly used dark make-up and a prosthetic nose during the shoot.) The film has been delayed multiple times, most recently from a planned December 2015 release.
“What keeps me focused and what kept me from getting stressed from being hurt by the comments is I’m doing it for my sisters, I’m doing it for my brothers, and I don’t care who tells me I am not this and I am not that,” the actress told HipHollywood in 2013, acknowledging the backlash. “I know who I am, and I know what Nina Simone means to me.”