Nina Simone Biopic Director Sues Studio For “Ruining Her Vision”
The civil community of Black Twitter are not the only ones who have taken an issue with Zoe Saldana portraying Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic. Cynthia Mort, the film Nina’s now-outed director, has filed a lawsuit for a myriad of reasons, including breach of contract, and the underlying reason of the production company faking like they have soul.
Mort is still be credited as the director but she’s still suing U.K. company Ealing Studios Enterprises Limited for unspecified damages.
According to the complaint, Mort, who co-wrote the feature film The Brave One and has worked on shows including Will and Grace and Roseanne, optioned Simone’s life story in 2005. That was two years after the singer behind such classics as Feeling Good and Sinner Man died. Mort says she worked for years to get the movie off the ground. It would not only cover Simone’s singing career, but also her role as a dedicated civil rights activist.
The lawsuit paints the portrait of a director who gained broad rights over the developing picture. She allegedly got approval rights over the final shooting script, the cast and crew, the line producer, the designer and all department heads. She is said to have been given consulting rights on advertising, distribution, shooting schedule and budget.
“She worked tirelessly to prepare the Film for a wide and successful commercial release,” says the lawsuit. “Yet, 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.”
Moviegoers have accused Saldana of performing in blackface once the first picture of her starring as Simone was revealed.