UPDATE: Nina director Cynthia Mort and distributor RLJ Entertainment have both responded to the renewed controversy surrounding the film. Read their comments here.
EARLIER: The estate of Nina Simone has some harsh words for Zoe Saldana, the actress portraying the singer-songwriter and civil rights activist in a controversial unauthorized biopic.
Replying to a recent tweet by Saldana quoting Simone, the estate’s verified Twitter account wrote, “Cool story but please take Nina’s name out your mouth. For the rest of your life.”
Saldana’s casting in Nina has stirred considerable debate since she came aboard to play Simone in 2012. Detractors say the actress, who is of Dominican and Puerto Rican parentage, was a poor pick to play Simone.
“My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark. Appearance-wise this is not the best choice,” Simone’s only child, Simone Kelly, told the New York Times.
Saldana responded to the criticisms about her casting in 2013, telling Ocean Drive magazine, “I can’t stop to think about who thinks me to be black enough or not black enough. I know who I am. I like who I am. And I’m not going to explain who I am. I’ve always been like that — I was raised to be that way.”
Representatives for Saldana and RLJ Entertainment, the film’s distributor, did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
Nina opens April 22.