Following the news earlier in the week that Zoe Saldana had joined the long-planned Nina Simone biopic, ‘Nina,’ The Hollywood Reporter bring word that Zoe Saldana has in fact signed up to play the iconic singer, replacing Mary J. Blige. Back in 2010, it was reported that Mary J. Blige had landed the title role and David Oyelowo – who’s still on board – was pegged as Nina Simone’s assistant Clifton Henderson. For me, as much as I think Zoe Saldana is a fantastic actor – one of my favourite’s working today, I just don’t see her as Nina Simone. You never know though, as I’ve said, Zoe Saldana is top-notch and these are just my first thoughts. My personal pick for someone to embody the fearlessness and passion of the legendary singer and activist is Adepero Oduye; who’s currently filming Steve McQueen’s ‘Twelve Years A Slave’ and lead Dee Rees’ phenomenal 2011 movie ‘Pariah.’ ’Nina’ is written and directed by Cynthia Mort (The Brave One), based on Simone’s 1992 autobiography ‘I Put A Spell On You.’ Nina Simone, undoubtedly a preeminent icon of the 20th century, was known as the high priestess of soul and rose to fame in the ’60s with signature jazz ballads and such powerful protest songs as ‘Mississippi Goddamn’ and ‘To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,’ an anthem of the civil rights movement.

‘Nina’ is due to begin production in Los Angeles on October 16th, with Mark Burton, Barnaby Thompson, Stuart Parr and Ben Latham Jones producing. Zoe Saldana recently wrapped ‘Out of the Furnace,’ a thriller that also stars Christian Bale and Casey Affleck, and the sequel to ‘Star Trek.’ David Oyelowo will next be seen in the Tom Cruise-actionner ‘Jack Reacher,’ and is currently shooting ‘The Butler,’ Lee Daniels’ drama about a real-life worker in the White House. The synopsis for ‘I Put A Spell On You: The Autobiography Of Nina Simone’ can be read here: “A gorgeous, inimitable singer and songwriter, Nina Simone (1933-2003) changed the face of both music and race relations in America. She struck a chord with bluesy jazz ballads like “Put a Little Sugar in My Bowl” and powerful protest songs such as “Mississippi Goddam” and “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,” the anthem of the American Civil Rights movement. Coinciding with the re-release of her famous Philips Recordings, here are the reflections of the “High Priestess of Soul” on her own life.”