Zoe Saldana has quite a full plate these days when it comes to acting gigs; her IMDB page is bursting with roles until 2018, including three more installments of “Avatar”. But she’s not just taking on the big-budget megafilms (she’s also set to star in “Guardians Of The Galaxy” this year); she’s reportedly taking projects that speak to her. Namely, two biopics about a couple of ground-breaking African American women.
The first, “Nina”, has Saldana playing Nina Simone. The role is a controversial one, since Simone often sang about what it meant to be a woman of color in her time and Saldana is relatively light-skinned.
“We understand that there are these beauty issues,” said Lanita Jacobs, anthropology professor at USC, “and sometimes what sanctions people’s right to speak on these kind of issues is whether they have had experiences born of what it means to have kinky hair, or to have wide noses or darker skin. Nina’s music taps into a certain kind of awareness born of the way she looks.”
“It’s one of the scariest projects I’ve ever been involved with because it was about an iconic figure, and there were so many political [issues] around it from the beginning, but I really wanted it to be a love song to Nina Simone and I wanted it to just come from a place of absolute love,” Saldana says. “I can’t stop to think about who thinks me to be black enough or not black enough. I know who I am. I like who I am. And I’m not going to explain who I am. I’ve always been like that—I was raised to be that way.”
The film is in post-production and doesn’t have a release date, which brings us to her second big role: playing Eartha Kitt, the songstress and actress who was named “the most exciting woman in the world” by Orson Welles. Although the role hasn’t been confirmed, Saldana is reportedly in talks to play Kitt in an as-yet untitled biopic.
The busy actress is also set to star in a mini-series production of “Rosemary’s Baby”, in which she’ll take over the role that Mia Farrow made popular.
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