Everyone needs a milestone and so lucky is Zoe Saldana to get such chance for times. Let’s agree she’s just everywhere (read: blockbusters) and in every color possible. She turns blue as Neytiri (Avatar) and turns green as Gomora (The Guardians of the Galaxy). She herself is an exotic tan, thus fits the role of attractive linguist, Uhura (Star Trek).
And soon, playing almost in her own color (but not her own race), she’s the face of late Nina Simone on the big screen. The music legend is finally brought to life, particularly during her breakdown phase. And to convince the audience, Saldana appears with heavy dark foundation, natural cornrow bun, some serious singing scenes, and depressive behavior opposing Simone’s successful music career. But do all these efforts go beyond Saldana’s capacity? Will she gain more in return but critics for being too young and too light-skinned?
Regardless the physical appearance, we admit that the color Saldana plays this time is the riskiest. Among the fictional characters everyone free to interpret, Simone is a real, influential figure. Furthermore, Simone’s life is a controversy, especially her uncontrollable temper leading to a civilian’s death and threat to a record company’s executive. Therefore, comparing with the resemblance between Saldana and Simone, we find Saldana channeling herself to Simone’s broken soul is the most important issue.
Saldana obviously plays a fierce Simone. Her dark skin and her tired expression pour in every scene shown on the trailer. Some serious lines are expelled with anger and disappointment, showing that despite all the stardom, Simone’s life is dominated by hardship. The trailer also shows Simone’s broken marriage and broken health, an unfortunate combo which deteriorates her career as well as social life.
Definitely the biggest milestone Saldana has taken so far but with a huge risk. Only if she wins hearts of many Simone’s fans and relates emotionally with the legend’s life story, Saldana will jump into a higher stake. Until then, Saldana must have prepared herself for any backlash at this moment. Just like a line in Simone’s song Just in Time, ” Baby … you are gonna miss that plane.” Saldana should catch that plane though.
Release Schedule: April 2016