British actor David Oyelowo portrays the manager and love interest of Nina Simone in the biopic about Simone’s life, coming out later this year. The film has been met with controversy because the part of Nina Simone is being played by Zoe Saldana, a Latina actress with lighter skin. While Zoe has been criticized, Mike Epps, who also stars in the film, has been praised as the perfect choice to play Richard Pryor (who was a close friend of Nina Simone).
Cherise Nicole (CNikky) and our associates EURweb spoke to David about the biopic during the Pan African Film Festival. He revealed his feelings about the controversy with Zoe Saldana and he gave us an idea of how Mike Epps did in his dream role portraying Richard Pryor.
How was Mike Epps Performance As Richard Pryor:
“I think people are going to be blown away by what Mike Epps does as Richard Pryor! I was there on his days of shooting and I just couldn’t believe what I was watching. It is transcendent what he does in the movie.”
How was Zoe Saldana As Nina Simone:
“Well like you say, she’s passionate and fiesty regardless then you combine her with Nina Simone and It’s quite a volitile mix. So, yeah that’s what I’m so excited for people to see in this movie. I mean you really see her do things in this film you haven’t seen her do before and I think her betrayal of Nina is very truthful.”
Do you think the controversy over Zoe playing Nina Simone is justified:
“Well I think that the minute as an actor you feel like you have to start cow towing to other peoples opinions of what you should and shouldn’t do, I think the art of it goes away. You know I’m never gonna let someone dictate the roles I take or don’t take, that’s my decision and I think the work should speak for itself. If people like the film that’s great, if they don’t like the film that’s fine. It’s an artform, it’s completely subjective.”
Watch the interview below and scroll down to see Chris “KID” Reids reaction to Mike Epps as Richard Pryor as well:
Watch Christopher “KID” Reid talk Mike Epps as Richard Pryor: