After years of delays and backlash, the Nina Simone biopic starring Zoe Saldana will finally arrive in theaters this spring. On Tuesday, Entertainment Weekly unveiled the film’s poster and release date (April 22), and today, the official trailer has premiered.
Nina focuses on the late jazz singer’s relationship with her nurse-turned-manager Clifton Henderson, played by Selma star David Oyelowo. The trailer shows Simone struggling to get her career back on track as she battles alcoholism and juggles her civil rights activism.
The biopic is years in the making and has quite the beleaguered history. In 2010, Mary J. Blige signed on to play Simone, but later dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Saldana scored the starring role in 2012, but news of her casting was widely criticized because of her singing inexperience and lack of resemblance to Simone. Saldana reportedly wore a prosthetic nose and makeup to darken her skin for the role, which some people have equated to “black face.”
In an interview with Latina magazine at the time of her casting, Saldana said, “I was already a part of this project and my priority was Nina, and the love that I feel for this woman, for her music and what she left us. Let’s all give ourselves a chance to watch it and then make a decision.”