Mary J. Blige once sang about having “no more drama in her life”, but it looks like she’ll be taking on a lot more of it very soon. The Hollywood Reporter claims that the Grammy winning R&B artist will portray legendary singer, songwriter, musician and activist Nina Simone in the $10 million budgeted Nina, about the life of the performer.
Cynthia Mort will direct the film, which will focus on Simone’s relationship with her assistant Clifton Henderson, who will be played by David Oyelowo, backers said. U.K. production, finance and studio facility operator Ealing Studios will finance, produce and sell the film internationally. Production will begin in the fall.
Blige has the personality and skill set needed to portray Simone, an American icon who has been noticeably missing on the silver screen. In my humble opinion, you couldn’t ask for a more accomplished individual to take on this responsibility, but what I’m most wary about is the “relationship” angle of the story. It sounds like the producers of the film are taking a similar approach here that was used in 2009’s disappointing Amelia, where the story of Mrs. Earheart’s globe-spanning adventures took a back seat to the totally uninteresting love triangle that she was a part of. Will we ever see a film about an important female figure that doesn’t relegate her to the role of lover? Only time will tell…