May 24, 2016  

First Look: Zoe Saldana Goes Afro as Nina Simone in New Biopic

October 27, 2012 (2:42 am) GMT
The 'Avatar' star is spotted on the set of 'Nina' in Los Angeles, sporting big wig and darker skin to portray the iconic jazz artist.

channeled Nina Simone as she was caught on camera on the set of "" on Thursday, October 25. Preparing to film the biopic in Los Angeles, the "" actress was seen sporting afro hairdo and darker skin to portray the late jazz artist. She was also spotted donning a robe to cover her costume.

Last week, Zoe was also seen on the set, debuting her Nina Simone makeover. Onlookers got a glimpse at the "" actress who put on some facial prosthetics, fake teeth and big afro wig as she stepped onto the filming location.

Zoe tackled the titular role in the movie that tells the story about the late jazz musician and classical pianist Nina Simone including her rise to fame and relationship with her manager Clifton Henderson. Henderson will be portrayed by .

"Nina" is directed and writen by Cynthia Mort, who was criticized for choosing Zoe to portray Nina. Some culture critics said that Zoe was too light-skinned and that her casting represented Hollywood's tendency to whitewash African American history.

The New York Times highlighted blogger Tiffani Jones who wrote, "When is it going to be O.K. to not be the delicate looking ideal of what the media considers blackness to be?" and linked to a petition on Change.org, which urged Cynthia to "replace Zoe Saldana with an actress who actually looks like Nina Simone."

The biopic still hasn't got a U.S. release date, but will likely be released sometime in 2014.

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