All Articles Tagged "Zoe Saldana"

Nina Simone Does Deserve Better–From Zoe Saldana And Everyone Involved With Nina

November 11th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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RLJ Entertainment

RLJ Entertainment

The adage “all press is good press” couldn’t be further from the truth.  Just ask Zoe Saldana, star of the upcoming biopic Nina, about the late iconic singer and activist Nina Simone. Saldana’s involvement in the film, which over the years has been labeled “doomed,” “troubled” and “controversial,” has been widely criticized. The film has been mired by a petition to remove Saldana, a lawsuit from its director, Cynthia Mort, against the movie’s backers, and according to the actress in a recent interview with Latina, mismanagement.

In the telling interview, Saldana stated that “Nina deserves better,” and revealed that she hasn’t been able to listen to the singer’s music since working on the project.  But here’s where I get a little confused: “I’ll be able to listen to her and not feel so heartbroken,” said Saldana, “once I either finish this movie and release it, knowing that we did the best we could, or this movie goes away.”  Then in the next breath, Saldana claims that she’s still fighting for the film.

Color me confused.

Granted, a lot of factors about the movie and its release are completely out of Saldana’s control, but this take it or leave it stance seems oddly…familiar.

In fact, it’s the same stance she took when considering the role in the first place.  Saldana publicly admitted that she didn’t think she was the right actress to portray Simone.  She actually turned down the role for a year before changing her mind.  Then, when Simone fans and critics voiced their opinions on her casting, claiming the film’s producers should find a more authentic representation of Simone’s physical likeness, considering how much that informed the music she created and indeed the life she lived, Saldana was quick to brush off naysayers and defend her decision. Now she wouldn’t feel any type of way if the film were to “go away”?

Now, I am not the Blackness police, nor am I a believer in the tired my-Black-is-blacker-than-your-Black debate.  But I do understand the concern initially raised regarding Saldana’s involvement.  Why cast her when there are so many capable actresses who more closely resemble Simone’s likeness, and don’t need makeup or a prosthetic nose to achieve the look?  To me, the uproar spoke more to Hollywood’s penchant for casting Black actresses with fairer skin tones, and not Saldana’s actual acting ability.  Yet there was also a part of me that considered Saldana’s decision to play such an iconic woman brave.  To tackle a challenge you’re not sure you can handle because of your love for a figure, and with so many judging eyes on you, is rather commendable.  That doesn’t negate, however, my concern regarding Saldana’s integrity that, along with many other factors, seems to have compromised the movie. And that’s what’s actually important here.

Was Saldana allowed to change her mind and to take on the role of Nina Simone?  Absolutely.  And I don’t doubt that she put her all into her performance.  But the back and forth in this saga, this never-ending story about the film’s production that has overshadowed what it supposedly intends to do, is troubling to Simone’s legacy.  This is an opportunity to introduce Simone and her music to those unaware of her tremendous contributions to our musical, political and social landscape.  It couldn’t be more timely. That’s why I believe Saldana was right in saying that Simone deserves better.  That’s exactly why Lisa Simone Kelly, the singer’s daughter, fully supported the documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? She was an executive producer on the film and felt it authentically represented her mother’s life.  And unlike Nina, which utilized a composite character based on Simone’s manager Clifton Henderson and a former nurse, the documentary is factually-based.  Plus, it had Kelly’s full support and made use of her personal knowledge of her late mother.

I wonder if there would have been such an uproar if Mary J. Blige, who was initially attached to play Simone, was in the film.  Blige is an actual singer but one with little acting experience.  People probably would have questioned her ability to play such an iconic, troubling, rebel figure, and that could have rubbed fans the wrong way.  But the fact remains that Nina, which is supposed to be released in December, has already put a bad taste in the mouths of future viewers and made a name for itself that does Simone a disservice.  The only way to truly gauge its worth is to watch it for ourselves.  If Nina sees the light of day, I hope, for Simone’s legacy, it’s well worth the wait.

“Nina Deserves Better” Zoe Saldana Explains Why The Nina Simone Biopic Hasn’t Come Out Yet

November 5th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Image Source: Ealing Studios

Image Source: Ealing Studios

Have you been wondering what happened with the Nina Simone biopic, starring Zoe Saldana? We haven’t either. But in a recent interview with Latina, Saldana explained why it’s taken so long to get the project off the ground.

First, she explained how she prepared for the role of Simone:

“I read as much as I could and spoke to as many people who knew her, who interviewed her. I listened to her voice, to her tone. She was angry, and rightfully so. She was a black woman born ahead of her time. Her soul, her spirit was never able to accept or adapt to the heartbreaks that life was giving her. Those are means for insanity. She was bipolar, and at that time, very little was known about bipolar disorder. A lot of people were self-medicating through substances, and she was doing it with alcohol. I wanted to understand all those things, and see what that was going to bring out of me. I never wanted to judge her.”

And though she felt she had prepared herself for this complex character, there were many people who took issue with Saldana being cast as the darker complected Simone, particularly when she took great pains fighting for representation of Black women and Black people in society. Nina Simone’s daughter, who goes by the name Simone, even told Ebony, that she was sure issues of colorism stayed with her mother throughout her life, as she was told she was “too dark” and her nose was “too wide.” All of this makes the casting tragically ironic, particularly when the shots of Saldana in makeup are absolutely distracting.

In addition to the criticism, according to Salana, there are some behind the scenes issues that have kept the film from being released.

“I needed to walk her path. As a woman, it wasn’t difficult to empathize with another woman. But I needed to be very isolated. I moved out of my house for three months. I wasn’t really talking to anybody that I knew. I just needed to be all things Nina. It was so intense, and everything happened really fast. The people behind the project weren’t my cup of tea. The director was fine, but there was a lot of mismanagement, which is why we’re still here three years later. And I’m still trying to fight with everybody to get the movie finished. Nina deserves better.”

A part of me feels sorry for Saldana. It seems like she was surrounded by a large number of people who were, and apparently, still are unequipped to tell this story. And from the looks of things, it seems like the universe doesn’t even want this film to come out. In that regard, Nina Simone certainly does deserve better.

What do you think about the upcoming biopic? Do Saldana’s comments surprise you?

Nina Simone Biopic Slated For December Release

September 10th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Zoe Saldana

Michael Wright/WENN


The Nina Simone biopic starring Zoe Saldana will be released in theaters this year.

According to Variety, BET Founder Robert L. Johnson’s RLJ Entertainment announced Thursday that they have acquired the North American rights to Nina.

Award-winning actor, David Oyelowo, has been cast to play Simone’s manager, Clifton Henderson. As previously reported, the film was written and directed by Cynthia Mort.

“I had the special privilege early in my career of working with Ms. Simone while coordinating a performance for former D.C. Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy, and knowing first-hand of her major contribution to the soul and emotion of the Civil Rights Movement,” Johnson said at the Toronto Film Festival. “I look forward as I am sure many others will, to her story and legacy being made available by RLJ Entertainment to consumers on various media platforms in the coming months.”

Nina has been in the making for years, and the project has been at the center of controversy since it was announced that Saldana would be playing the singer. Many felt that casting directors made a huge mistake when giving the mother of two the role primarily because she looks nothing like Simone, and expressed that it was offensive for them to cast Saldana instead of simply seeking out a darker skinned actress. For a more convincing presentation, makeup artists had to darken Saldana’s skin. According to some reports, she was also given a prosthetic nose and false teeth.

The firm is planning for a December 2015 release.

Zoe Saldana Speaks Out Against Sexism In Hollywood

July 11th, 2015 - By Rich
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Zoe Saldana is speaking out against sexism in Hollywood. The talented beauty is married to Marco Perego and they welcomed their twins named Bowie and Cy in December. According to an interview she did with  when she was promoting her movie Infinitely Polar Bear she said:

“A producer once told me he hired me for the way I held a gun while wearing panties, not for my opinions. I wish I’d recorded it, so I could play it for every girl in elementary school and tell them never to let anybody treat them that way.”

She went on and talked about how bad she wanted the role: “Most of the time when you’re not right for a part, it’s for some specific reason out of your control and you’re not bothered by it. But I wanted this so badly. It resonated with me. It sang to me. It was very precious to me.”

The 37-year-old also talked to USA Today about the reaction she got after she found out she was having twins.

“Let me tell you something, it will never be the right time for anybody in your life that you get pregnant,” Saldana explained, adding that in 2014, “the productions I was slated to work on sort of had a panic. I heard through the grapevine there was even a conversation of me being written off of one of the projects.”

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, are you kidding me? It’s this bad?’ Right when I just feel super-duper happy, is that inconvenient for you?’ That me, as a woman in my thirties, I finally am in love and I am finally starting my life? And it’s [screwing] your schedule up? Really?”

Should A Man Take on A Woman’s Surname After Marriage?

June 10th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Image Source: WENN


There is an interesting debate happening in my social media network about the old act of name swapping after a couple has tied the knot.

It started when news began to circulate that after Zoe Saldana had married hot ass Italian artist (seriously that is one delicious-looking pancetta) Marco Perego two years ago, he opted to take her surname. As reported by the Huffington Post, Saldana told InStyle she was nervous about his decision:

“I tried to talk him out of it. I told him, ‘If you use my name, you’re going to be emasculated by your community of artists, by your Latin community of men, by the world’,” the star told InStyle. “But Marco looks up at me and says [she puts on a cute Italian accent], ‘Ah, Zoe, I don’t give a shit.’”

Imagine if more men didn’t give a shit (and were as hot as Perego). How peaceful and overpopulated with beautiful babies would this world be?

But seriously, this news has sent shockwaves through some in my social media network. They feel that part of Perego is either chucking away his masculinity or setting the young starlet up for some crazy alimony scheme. Either way, their personal decision (and really, it’s no one else’s business) does raise a wonderful question: Why in a culture that has grown more progressive, with women taking more control over their personal lives and careers, are we still engaging in the archaic practice of taking on his surname and not the other way around?

Although many people believe that the act of taking on a man’s name is biblical, the custom is actually rooted in Eurocentric values about ownership (i.e. women as property to be transferred from her family to her husband) and is not universally practiced. For instance, in Italy, it is very common for couples to each maintain their surnames, although the children take on the father’s name.

And although most Americans believe that women should take on their husband’s name, some couples are opting to forgo the practice. Instead, they’re going for more gender-neutral relationship identities including hyphenated names, name blending or even keeping their own names. And as writer Jill Filipovic once wrote in a piece for The Guardian UK:

That is fundamentally why I oppose changing your name (and why I look forward to the wider legalization of same-sex marriage, which in addition to just being good and right, will challenge the idea that there are naturally different roles for men and women within the marital unit). Identities matter, and the words we put on things are part of how we make them real. There’s a power in naming that feminists and social justice activists have long highlighted. Putting a word to the most obvious social dynamics is the first step toward ending inequality. Words like “sexism” and “racism” make clear that different treatment based on sex or race is something other than the natural state of things; the invention of the term “Ms” shed light on the fact that men simply existed in the world while women were identified based on their marital status.

And as writer William Macaskill said about his decision to take on his partner’s last name in an article for The Atlantic entitled, “Men Should Consider Changing Their Last Name When They Get Married“:

We’ve made progress on these issues (though some remarkably late). But the tradition of taking the man’s name remains and, given its background, it seems to me it’s simply bad taste to carry on with it, in the same way that it would be bad taste to put on a minstrel show, no matter how pure the intentions.

You might say that we need some rule, and that taking the man’s name is as good as any other. But is this true? Why not go with whichever name sounds better? Or which name is associated with the coolest people? (MacAskill clearly beats my birth surname “Crouch” on both counts, having a better ring and being the name of both Giant MacAskill—a forebear of my fiancée’s who has a claim to be the world’s strongest ever man—and Danny MacAskill, a trial-biking legend who, also being descended from Giant MacAskill, must be a very distant cousin.) Or any other choice made by both parties.

It’s an interesting question in which I believe there isn’t a right answer for. Although I will say that whether or not a woman takes her husband’s name should only be a matter of personal comfort as opposed to what society believes should happen. Personally, I have not decided what I will do with my last name when I get married. Childhood trauma in which I was teased relentlessly about the last name “Ball” makes me think that taking on my future husband’s surname wouldn’t be a bad idea. Plus, I have no real connection to my last name as it belongs to my grandfather whom I only met once in life. However, for branding purposes, I have built a pretty decent reputation around my surname and getting rid of that might have an effect on me professionally.

Zoe Saldana’s Husband Took Her Last Name: “I Tried To Talk Him Out Of It”

June 8th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

In a new interview for the July issue of InStyle, Zoe Saldana revealed that her husband, Marco Perego, decided to take her last name when they wed last year. You can officially call him Marco Saldana.

According to the actress, it was something he wanted to do on his own. And while it’s a very sweet gesture, initially, she was not excited about him doing so. In fact, she was a little worried that it wouldn’t be a good look for the established Italian artist.

“I tried to talk him out of it, ” she admitted. “[I told him], ‘If you use my name, you’re going to be emasculated by your community of artists, by your Latin community of men, by the world.’ But Marco looks up at me and says: ‘Ah Zoe, I don’t give a s**t.”

According to a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted last fall with 1,000 men and women, 57 percent of people think women should take whatever name they please and not be held down by tradition. But the second most popular preference (31 percent) was for women to take their husband’s last name. In that study, and in others, men who took their wife’s name had interesting reasons, from their own birth name being too common or complicated, to having an affinity for their father-in-law, and even losing to their wife in a best of three game of rock/papers/scissors.

It’s still pretty uncommon, but more and more men are doing it. They’re also speaking out against the often pricey and lengthy legal process required in some states to take on the names of their wives (yet it’s easy for a woman to take their husband’s name).

I’m  part of the group who is okay with taking the last name of a husband (my parents would probably side-eye me if I didn’t), but at the same time, I’m planning to retain my maiden name when it comes to my career. But how would I feel if my future husband asked to take my last name as we prepared to take that next big step? While I wouldn’t fight him if he seemed serious or passionate about it, I wouldn’t think it necessary. Maybe we could both hyphenate our names in some way?

At the end of the day, everything isn’t for everybody, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Who knows? This could be the new big thing! In the meantime, if it works for Zoe and Marco (aka, Mr. Saldana), that’s what matters most.

But what do you think? If your man said he wanted to take your last name, would you be down for him to do it? 

Zoe Saldana Opens Up About Her Twins And Her Relationship

June 6th, 2015 - By Rich
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Zoe Saldana is beautiful, stylish, a twin mommy and a successful actress so it’s no surprise that InStyle magazine picked her for their July 2015 cover.

The 37-year-old actress, who looks gorgeous on the cover is married to Marco Perego and is the mother of twin boys, Bowie Ezio and Cy Aridio. In her cover story she opens up about motherhood, how it’s changed her life and her relationship with her husband. She stays busy because she is currently starring alongside Mark Ruffalo in the movie Infinitely Polar Bear which follows a manic-depressive  father (Mark Ruffalo) who tries to win back his wife (Zoe) which debuts in theaters June 19.

She talked to InStyle about her body…

“I don’t want to get back to where I used to be,” she tells InStyle. “I want to feel healthy, and not just fit into the old jeans I used to wear.”

“I’m a woman now. My body has changed forever. It’s softer… and stronger.”

She also talked about her weight in a post on her facebook page…’Your body changes dramatically, inside and out. You grow in places you never knew you could, and you are tired beyond belief. In some cases more than others, your body experiences a kind of trauma through childbirth that is difficult to explain unless you’ve had that experience,’ the Avatar actress wrote.

‘My case was like that, everything from my thyroid to my platelets crashed. Thank God, we are all doing great now, but my body was really bent out of shape after the boys were born.’

She talked about how strong her relationship has become after her twins with InStyle..

“Finally, when we had our boys, I looked at my husband and I realized: I was meant for you, and you were meant for me,” she says. “I’ve always felt comfortable around men as long as they were my friends. Now I finally feel comfortable with my lover.”

She shared her thoughts about her husband taking on her last name.

“I tried to talk him out of it. I told him, ‘If you use my name, you’re going to be emasculated by your community of artists, by your Latin community of men, by the world,’” she says. “But Marco looks up at me and says, ‘Ah, Zoe, I don’t give a s—.’

Zoe Saldana Vents About Frustrating Weight Loss Attempts After Giving Birth To Twins

April 28th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Zoe Saldana

Splash News

Often times when celebrities give birth, they emerge on a red carpet weeks later looking even more amazing than they did before getting pregnant and gloating about how quickly they dropped the pounds. Although we think she looks wonderful, Zoe Saldana recently revealed that shedding the baby weight has been a “frustrating” experience. The actress and mother to twin boys opened up to fans about the challenging journey in a letter posted to Facebook. Her full letter reads:

Hi everyone,
As you all know, we welcomed twin boys last November. Yes, by far, the most amazing experience of my life, but also a very challenging experience when it pertains to my body. I’m sure moms across the world (and dads sometimes) can identify with what I’m about to say.

Your body changes dramatically, inside and out. You grow in places you never knew you could, and you are tired beyond belief. In some cases more than others, your body experiences a kind of trauma through childbirth that is difficult to explain unless you’ve had that experience. My case was like that, everything from my thyroid to my platelets crashed. Thank God, we are all doing great now, but my body was really bent out of shape after the boys were born. Bouncing back feels impossible, but I know it is important as a woman, and now a mommy, to not give up. I am determined to get my energy back and find balance for my body before these little guys start walking, and before I go back to work….. my clock is ticking!

2 months ago I started my journey, and it’s been REAL- I’m not gonna lie- it is slow…. painful… and frustrating. But it is worth it. And that is why I’m here… I know many of you have gone through this or are going through it as we speak. Let’s do it together. Let’s talk about it, hear each other out, and seek advice when we need it. I have my friend of many years and trainer, Steve Moyer that will be guiding me and sometimes training me for the next 2 months before I go back to work. I will be sharing with you what I do, what I eat and how I feel about it in hopes that it will be of any help to you. Cool?

I started in January with Moyer. I was 160lbs (at the peak of my pregnancy I reached 185lbs). I had no flexibility, weak joints, and exercising was painful. We started with just walking; I think I only walked that first month. I did, however, change the way I eat. I began to make better choices with my food. Moyer was instrumental at this point. He gave me great tips of what to eat, how much water to drink, he even gave me some recipes of his own sometimes. It was important for me to learn this so I can do it on my own if I have to. I want to prove to myself that if I have the right determination I can do anything.

Crap, boys are up from their naps! Gotta go!

I’m looking fwd to sharing this journey with you…

It’s refreshing to see a celebrity open up about real life issues such as this one in a relatable way. We’re wishing Zoe the best.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

Zoe Saldana Is Removing The Word “Diet” From Her Life + Reveals Workout Routine

April 25th, 2015 - By Rich
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Actress and new twin mommy Zoe Saldana has banished the word ‘diet’ and just wants to focus on being healthy. In a post to her Facebook page the 36-year-old talked about her struggles with weekend junk food eating and revealed one of her workout routines.

Her Facebook Post read:

“Ok, how do you guys deal with the weekends and eating out? By Friday I’m anxious about what I will have to do over the weekend to avoid breaking my diet. I find myself dreading the awesome family feast gatherings, friends inviting me over for a “wine and dine” on Saturdays, and then of course Sunday brunch. WTF!!!

So here is what I’m gonna start doing; I am going to remove the word “diet” from my life. I am going to remind myself that it is not about losing weight, it is about being healthy, feeling healthy, for the rest of my life.
What I am trying to do for myself and my family is create a healthy lifestyle that I can live by everyday. I want it to become second nature to us.
How am I going to deal with the anxiety of anticipating the weekends? I am gonna try to focus on what weekends are really for- resting and making time for your loved ones… And when chow time arrives? I will make amazing and healthy decisions.
I know ordering pizza while vegging out in front of your TV feels way easier to do, but trust me it isn’t.  Healthy doesn’t have to be dull and sad, it can be an awesome experience.”

She also shared her workout routine and said:

“Moyer has been putting my cardio tolerance to the test today with interval training. After a 12 minute warmup on the elliptical, we changed it up on the treadmill. Started out walking, then increased to a run at a slight incline until my heart rate was around 160-170 range. After it hit this range, I walked in order to get my heart rate back down to about 120, only to turn around and start the whole process all over again.
We didn’t do this just once… but 10 times!
36 minutes of solid working out. The thing that I learned about interval training is that even 10-15 minutes is enough to see results, with the added bonus, you can do it just about anywhere. Even switching up your cardio with jumping jacks or burpees!
It’s also important to note that, every week I’m challenging myself 10-15% more than the week before. Faster pace, higher incline, more reps…that’s what training is all about: pushing yourself to do a little bit more for a period of 4 – 5 weeks.”

Zoe Saldana Shares Post Baby Workout Regimen With Fans

April 11th, 2015 - By Rich
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Any woman who has delivered a baby knows that pregnancy changes your body. Some women bounce right back and are in the same size jeans as before and for other women it can take years to lose the baby weight. Celebrities however are lucky enough to have the help of personal trainers, chefs, glam squads and more to keep them looking fab. 36-year-old actress Zoe Saldana is one mama that isn’t taking her twin baby weight sitting down.

She posted a pic on her facebook page of her working up a serious sweat on the treadmill. She went on to describe her passion and feelings about reclaiming her body after giving birth to her twin boys Cy Aridio and Bowie Ezio in November. She also encouraged others to join in her journey and share their stories too.

“Your body changes dramatically, inside and out. You grow in places you never knew you could, and you are tired beyond belief. In some cases more than others, your body experiences a kind of trauma through childbirth that is difficult to explain unless you’ve had that experience”

“My case was like that, everything from my thyroid to my platelets crashed. Thank God, we are all doing great now, but my body was really bent out of shape after the boys were born.”

“I know many of you have gone through this or are going through it as we speak. Let’s do it together. Let’s talk about it, hear each other out, and seek advice when we need it,” Saldana continues. “I will be sharing with you what I do, what I eat and how I feel about it in hopes that it will be of any help to you. Cool?”

“I want to prove to myself that if I have the right determination I can do anything,” she says.