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What If Zoe Saldana's Nina Simone Movie Is Stronger Than You Expect It To Be?

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act November 12, 2012 at 4:18PM

I'm sure this isn't something that a lot of you even want to consider; BUT, before you have my head on a platter, let me explain myself...
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Nina Simone

I'm sure this isn't something that a lot of you even want to consider; BUT, before you have my head on a platter, let me explain myself...

Maybe you should be thinking about the possibility that, despite all the derision the project - specifically Zoe Saldana's casting - has attracted, it might... JUST might be better than you expect it to be, and you JUST may be surprised by what you eventually end up seeing on screen - those of you who plan to see it anyway.

You've got to believe that Zoe is certainly fully aware of all the criticism, and that all of it is serving as motivation for her to really give a strong performance - quite possibly, the performance of her life - if only to silence all the criticism.

From her POV, it probably feels like it's her against the world right now. Those who've been in a somewhat similar situation will understand what I'm talking about - essentially, when it seems like everyone doubts your ability or potential to accomplish something, and proving them wrong provides you with all the motivation you need; which means working harder than maybe you've ever worked.

Think of the under-dog and poster-board material!

So in an unintentional way, you just might be guaranteeing results that you may not want to see in the end product.

Forget the on-set photos that we've seen of Zoe in makeup, wigs, etc. One thing to keep in mind is that these aren't professional photos, and may not necessarily indicate exactly what she will look like when the film has gone through principal photography, post-production, and is eventually released. So we mock them now, but I'd wait to actually see a clip, a teaser or trailer, before completely dismissing the transformation.

I too was taken aback when I first learned that Zoe had been cast as Nina Simone; I just couldn't see her as Nina, at all, for what should be obvious reasons, that many other writers have already touched on. But the film is still being made (they're shooting it right now), and will eventually be released, which means it's not going anywhere, despite all your criticisms, petitions, etc.

It's very real, and it's coming whether you like it or not. 

Some will say that whether it's a good movie or not isn't the issue, and that it's more about an pervading ideology. And I completely understand that as well.

You could say that I'm just playing devil's advocate here. But it really is all something to think about. 

So what I'm curious to know is:

1. Has anyone with reservations considered the possibility that, thanks to all the criticism, the cast and crew involved will be inspired to make the best film of their careers, and that it just might end up being better than expected?

2. How many folks are actually hoping that the film sucks and fails at the box office?

3. How many are hoping that, despite their concerns about it, they still pray that, at the very least, it's a good movie?

Finally, a KEY point I want to make is that this is NOT a Hollywood movie, as I keep hearing and reading others say. It's not a Hollywood studio-backed film. The company behind it is a UK-based studio called Ealing.

So this is a UK-backed project, which means that it probably isn't a film that's being made specifically for American audiences. I'm sure they hope it'll play in the USA, but the USA is likely just one of several markets that it'll be released in; although it may be one of the secondaries; there may not even be any plans at the moment on a USA release. It certainly doesn't have a USA distributor yet.

This article is related to: Zoe Saldana


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