Nina biopic starring Zoe Saldana gets December theatrical release date

David Oyelowo and Zoe Saldana in 'Nina.'

David Oyelowo and Zoe Saldana in Nina.

RLJ Entertainment has acquired the rights to the upcoming biopic Nina, which explores the life and career of Nina Simone and will star Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo.

Robert L. Johnson, RLJE Chairman and Founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), said in a press release that he was looking forward to the film’s December 2015 premiere.

“I am very excited that RLJ Entertainment will be distributing Nina Simone’s biopic with the tremendous talent involved including Zoe Saldana and David Oyelowo,” said Johnson. “I had the special privilege early in my career of working with Ms. Simone while coordinating a performance for former D.C.

Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy and knowing first-hand of her major contribution to the soul and emotion of the Civil Rights Movement. I look forward as I am sure many others will, to her story and legacy being made available by RLJ Entertainment to consumers on various media platforms in the coming months.”

In a June interview with InStyle magazine, Zoe Saldana addressed concerns that she was too light-skinned to play the part of Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic Nina.

“I didn’t think I was right for the part, and I know a lot of people will agree, but then again, I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra either,” she said in the interview.

“An artist is colorless, genderless… It’s more complex than just ‘Oh, you chose the Halle Berry look-alike to play a dark, strikingly beautiful, iconic black woman.’ The truth is, they chose an artist who was willing to sacrifice herself. We needed to tell her story because she deserves it.”

Nina Simone, a 15-time Grammy winner, became famous not only for her musical career but her work with the Civil Rights movement, and many of her songs reflected that work, most notably “To Be Young Gifted and Black.” The film covers her search for hope and redemption and the meaning her music brought into the lives of those that heard it.