Zoe Saldana


It sounds like critics who blasted Zoe Saldana for being cast as Nina Simone may have spoken too soon.

David Oyelowo, who costars with Saldana in the upcoming biopic Nina, says the Star Trek actress did an incredible job portraying the legendary jazz musician.

"I think a lot of people are going to be surprised of the sheer power of her," Oyelowo told us at yesterday's Essence Black women in Hollywood Luncheon. "She went to work. She is a huge admirer of Nina Simone and that crept into what she did. She wanted to tell the truth and every day we were on that set, that's what I saw. "

Saldana shows off her real-life vocal chops in the flick.

"She did do her own singing," Oyelowo dished. "It was fantastic, surprisingly. Nina Simone is no joke in terms of her singing voice. I was pretty blown away."

As for what Simone would think of Saldana's portrayal of her?

Oyelowo said, "Al Shackman, who was her guitarist for many years was with us on set, and one of the things he said was that Nina would have loved the fact that we were telling her story as a love story because she was a big lover of love. And our film is basically a love story, so that was very heartening from someone who knew her for many, many years to say this is a rendition of a movie she would have loved."

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