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Nina Simone’s biopic is currently filming and Zoe Saldana has been cast as the lead. Despite a public outcry when Zoe’s role was first announced, director Cynthia Mort and crew have went forward with production. Instead of choosing another lead, the film producers just got creative with makeup.

Photos surfaced from the set of the film, and Shadow and Act notes the images, which were submitted by a reader, are not official and we can’t be sure which stage of the makeup process Zoe was captured in.

However, we can tell that Zoe appears darker, with a wider nose, fake teeth and an afro wig. For some, the photo begs the question: why not just hire an actress that actually resembles Nina Simone?

It will be interesting to see if Zoe’s performance will keep audiences from being distracted by this elaborate makeup job.

What are your thoughts on the first shot of Zoe as Nina Simone, Clutchettes?

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  • Still not feeling this. The drastic makeup they are using is only a step away from blackface. Viola Davis was up for an Oscar last year so she has the acting chops and while not looking exactly like Nina, she is much closer to Simone’s phenotype. Beyond possible schedule conflicts for Viola, I don’t see why they chose to go this way. Besides that, Viola is not the only dark-skinned actress with skills!

  • She certainly doesn’t look the part-she looks like she has a skin disease. And Nina was heavier-she didn’t even bother to gain weight for the part-that’s just lazy.