Do you remember that Nina Simone biopic that Zoe Saldana is starring in? It was a movie that generally no one seemed to support. Well, finally it’s going to premier this week, at the Cannes Film Market, where it’ll be screened for potential international distributors. In addition to the casting controversy, a lawsuit is also looming over the film. Cynthia Mort, the writer/director of the film, titled Nina is upset with developments regarding the production of the film, and she has now taken legal action. In fact, according to The Hollywood Reporter Mort filed a lawsuit this week, against the British producer of the film, Ealing Studios Enterprises Limited, claiming that the company effectively cut Mort out of the decision making process during production, and, as a result, she is not at all happy with the version which is about to be screened for distributors.
According to the lawsuit, Mort had rights over the developing picture and “got approval over the final shooting script, the cast and crew, the line producer, the designer and all department head as well as consulting rights on advertising, distribution, shooting schedule and budget.” However, as the suit further states, “throughout the course of the film’s production and post-production, defendants consistently acted to frustrate Mort’s involvement in the film, thereby breaching the Director Agreement.
These breaches by the Defendants include, but are not limited to: taking complete control of editing the Film in June 2013 and failing to consult with Mort about subsequent cuts and changes; abandoning Mort’s previous cuts of the Film; failing to disclose the Film’s financials, finishing budget, and financing deals; and failing to keep Mort informed of other crucial creative and budgetary developments and decisions throughout production and post-production of the Film.“
Apparently, the film was supposed to have already been released, which hasn’t happened. Mort is seeking monetary damages, as well as “a declaration that the defendants can’t make decisions without her meaningful approval and consultation.” Nina has been in development for at least 5 years, with Mary J. Blige initially attached to star in the film. The film company eventually replaced her with Saldana, who brought more international box office potential to the production. The film’s official synopsis reads: A rare and poignant love story about a tormented genius who eventually finds love and peace. The story of the late jazz musician and classical pianist Nina Simone including her rise to fame and relationship with her manager Clifton Henderson. Movie critics, authors and bloggers have previously slammed the show-calling Zoe Saldana’s performance Blackface.