Zoe Saldaña's Nina Simone biopic releases first poster, trailer amid controversy

Photo : Nina Simone (Associated Press)
Photo : Nina Simone (Associated Press)

(FOX NEWS) - After many delays and even more controversies, the Zoe Saldaña biopic about Grammy-nominated singer and outspoken civil rights activist Nina Simone finally has a release date. "Nina" will be released in theaters, digital HD and video-on-demand on April 22 .

The film’s first trailer and poster were released Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, nearly four years after the cast of Saldaña and David Oyelowo was announced — much to the indignation and backlash from fans who said the Dominican-Puerto Rican is not a good fit for the role.

Saldaña plays the iconic singer who struggled with depression and alcoholism after finding fame. Oyelowo plays her stalwart friend Clifton Henderson, who helped her return to music.

The release of the trailer and posters has reignited the storm online, with fans claiming that Saldaña is wearing darker makeup and a prostethic nose. Some Twitter users claimed it equates to “black face.”

When casting was first announced in 2012, Saldaña got a lot of heat for accepting the role, including from Simone’s daughter, Simone Kelly, who said the family had not authorized the biopic.

She added that despite being a fan of the actress, she thought others like Viola Davis or Kimberly Elise would be better choices for the role.

“My mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide, her skin was too dark,” Kelly told the New York Times at the time, adding that Saldaña should not play the role because "appearance-wise this is not the best choice.”

At the time of her casting, Saldaña suggested that critics and fans alike see the movie before making any conclusions.

"People are going to want to outcast you and put you someplace and it's like, you can have any opinion about it, and that is fine, as long as you understand that it's going to come second to how I feel about myself," she told Latina magazine.

Distributor RLJ Entertainment said Tuesday the film “Nina” would be released in theaters, digital HD and video-on-demand on April 22. Originally it had announced that it would open in theaters in December 2015.

The documentary "What Happened, Miss Simone?" directed by Liz Garbus, was nominated for an Academy Award this year.

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