In the midst of the debate about whether or not Zoe Saldana was the best choice for the Nina Simone biopic, news that Director Cynthia Mort has filed a lawsuit has surfaced.
The lawsuit comes after Mort was cut out of decision-making for Nina.
Although Nina still is being credited to her, Mort is unhappy she’s being associated with a movie starring Zoe Saldana that she doesn’t like and is now out of her hands. On Tuesday, the director’s loan-out company filed a lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court alleging that Ealing Studios Enterprises Limited, the U.K. producer behind Nina, has breached the terms of her director deal.
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.
From 2005 through 2012, Mort worked with Paramount Pictures, and after she was quitclaimed rights to the film by the studio, she assigned them to Ealing and Nina Productions and executed a director agreement to work on the picture.
According to the lawsuit, Mort gained broad rights over the developing picture. She allegedly got approval rights over the cast and crew, final shooting script, the line producer and all other department heads.
She also allegedly was given consulting rights on advertising, distribution, shooting schedule and budget. The lawsuit says that as a result, the film doesn’t reflect Mort’s vision of Simone as a woman, musician and civil rights activists.
It is slated to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
Thoughts on the lawsuit and Zoe Saldana being selected for the lead role?
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