Zoe Saldana is slaying this months issue of Latina Magazine. Inside she’s being extremely candid on her political beliefs as well as what’s going on behind the scenes with the release of her controversial Nina Simone biopic. Check out some highlights from the interview.
Let’s talk about your role in the Nina Simone biopic, which hasn’t been released yet. How did you prepare?
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.
There was a lot of criticism when you were chosen to portray Nina, but you were adamant about playing her.
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.
Do you feel personally affected by the immigration debate?
This topic of immigration hurts because I don’t want to be angry anymore. I don’t believe that what anybody else is saying is true about me or my people. I’m kind of embarrassed when you see all of these people talking on national television and it’s like, “Oh my God, if your grandfather were alive today, when he came here from Ireland, from Italy, escaped the f–king war in Russia. You’re rotting his name to shame. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, or how many degrees from Ivy League schools. You’re such a bigot. You’re such a hick right now.” People have to be open to the reality of what’s happening in our country.
How about Zoe make a transition from acting to politics? Her other comments on immigration sound like a perfect campaign speech. She passionately added, “You can’t kill us. You can’t send us back. We are millions and millions here because it is our time to migrateWe are the youngest culture. We are doing what your people did. So shut up and just deal with it. Adjust your laws, because it’s not going away. If anything, I want to give them a hug, and say, ‘It’s okay. It’s new. Don’t be scared. We’re great people. We’re gonna do great and better things for your country. Trust me.’ We’re not angry either. We’re a culture that isn’t angry.”
You can read the full interview here. It’s unfortunate that Zoe’s clear and passionate understanding of immigration and the rights of Latinos doesn’t translate to her understanding why African Americans are still upset about her portrayal of Nina Simone. After a three year wait, we’re in no rush for this biopic to hit theaters. What we are here for is her role in Avatar 2 which will be released on Christmas day in 2017!