Issa Rae to Play Nina Simone in New Lorraine Hansberry Biopic

If there’s one rising star in Hollywood to look out for, Issa Rae is the one.  From her awesome YouTube series, to a new talk show on the Aspire Network, Rae is definitely leaving her mark.

A new biopic based on the life of  author, Lorraine Hansberry,  is in the early stages of development, but it is being reported that Issa Rae will take on the role of Nina Simone.

From Shadow & Act:

Issa Rae is set to play Nina Simone, who was a close friend of Lorraine until her death.

And Jaleel White will play James Baldwin, Hansberry’s close friend and confidant.

Will Stewart (Casting Director for Scandal) is casting the project, with additional announcements to come.

Production is slated to begin in early fall, with the project now heading into the pre-production stage.

Living quite an involved life, Hansberry was the first black playwright and the youngest American to win a New York Critics’ Circle award. She’s likely most-known for her seminal play about a struggling black family in Chicago, A Raisin in the Sun (a line taken from a Langston Hughes poem).

It was the first play produced on Broadway by an African American woman. It opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on March 11, 1959, and was a great success.

Taye Hansberry (grand niece of Lorraine Hansberry and author of and  Numa Perrier are the film’s writers. Taye Hansberry will also star in the film as Lorraine Hansberry.

  • Mavis

    Issa Rae is amazing. So i’m sure she’ll be great playing Nina Simone

  • Kila Kitu (@kilak)

    Poo-poo to whether or not theres new research, blah blah blah. Bottom line, Lorraine Hansberry deserves such a project and it’s about time!

  • Nakia

    This is what I’m wondering. I’ve only seen her in ABG which seem like a far cry. Can she pull off a dramatic role? Time will tell.

  • Nakia

    With make-up, costuming and skill (studying the persons mannerisms and speech patterns,etc), an actor only needs to resemble the basic characteristics (physically) of a person to play them Denzel doesn’t look like Malcolm, Will like Ali, Foxx like Ray Charles, and Angela Basset definitely does not look like Tina Turner. Zoe was just TOO far off (cone on, black face?), plus, she’s not that strong of an actress, either.

    I do agree about her playing a serious role, though. Nina Simone seemed to have some serious personality.

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