When the story broke that Zoe Saldana had been cast to play jazz legend Nina Simone, everyone had an opinion. Many rallied around the perspective that Zoe could not play Nina because she didn’t resemble her physically; Nina’s complexion and facial features, they argued, are an integral part of her legacy and the biopic should honor that. Others felt the criticism of Nina’s casting was a form of colorism and surmised that Zoe’s as qualified to play Nina as any other actress.
Jill Scott is the latest to weigh in on the debate and she presents an interesting perspective. The singer said Zoe gets her blessing to play Nina, but she could use a little help stepping into the role.
She told Hello Beautiful:
“Zoe is an incredible actress,” Scott prefaced, before adding: “I think that there should be some work done, like a prosthetic nose would be helpful and definitely some darker makeup. If Forest Whitaker can become darker in The Last King Of Scotland then I believe Nina should be treated with that respect…[Simone] was very adamant about her color, about her nose, about her shape and herself and there needs to be some homage paid to that.”
Zoe wouldn’t be the first actor to use makeup to help her inhabit a character, and that could quiet concerns that Zoe won’t resemble Nina in the film.