Issa Rae to Play Nina Simone in New Lorraine Hansberry Biopic

If there’s one rising star in Hollywood to look out for, Issa Rae is the one.  From her awesome YouTube series, to a new talk show on the Aspire Network, Rae is definitely leaving her mark.

A new biopic based on the life of  author, Lorraine Hansberry,  is in the early stages of development, but it is being reported that Issa Rae will take on the role of Nina Simone.

From Shadow & Act:

Issa Rae is set to play Nina Simone, who was a close friend of Lorraine until her death.

And Jaleel White will play James Baldwin, Hansberry’s close friend and confidant.

Will Stewart (Casting Director for Scandal) is casting the project, with additional announcements to come.

Production is slated to begin in early fall, with the project now heading into the pre-production stage.

Living quite an involved life, Hansberry was the first black playwright and the youngest American to win a New York Critics’ Circle award. She’s likely most-known for her seminal play about a struggling black family in Chicago, A Raisin in the Sun (a line taken from a Langston Hughes poem).

It was the first play produced on Broadway by an African American woman. It opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on March 11, 1959, and was a great success.

Taye Hansberry (grand niece of Lorraine Hansberry and author of and  Numa Perrier are the film’s writers. Taye Hansberry will also star in the film as Lorraine Hansberry.

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  • GlowBelle

    Love Issa Rae and glad to see she’s getting some shine, but I’m on the fence because I’ve only seen her in AWB and she doesn’t scream ‘Nina Simone’ to me. She may have range, like most actors *should*, but still a strange casting.

    Besides I’m more interested in someone taking a look at Lorraine Hansberry’s legacy than this casting. Hansberry is one of my writing inspirations and I’m happy to hear that her story will be told and that her family will have some big involvement on how this movie will play out.

  • talaktochoba

    much, much better portrayal of Nina, and the only one i’d pay money to see–hopefully the film flops miserably as New Coke, then Zoe will have to “audition” for the other half of Hollywood to get another job…

  • WinterQueen

    Why do they keep missing the obvious! Cast VIOLA DAVIS!!! Like she is the perfect choice! Come on people!

  • Issa Rae is amazing. So i’m sure she’ll be great playing Nina Simone

  • Poo-poo to whether or not theres new research, blah blah blah. Bottom line, Lorraine Hansberry deserves such a project and it’s about time!