Zoe Saldana Gets Dark Makeup, Prosthetic Nose to Play Nina SimoneS

Zoe Saldana has started filming scenes for Nina, the movie that's an unauthorized look at the life of legendary jazz singer Nina Simone, and a paparazzi photo of Saldana on the way to the set reveals that she's been making some physical changes in order to play the part. There's dark makeup on her jaw, and she appears to have a prosthetic nose and false teeth.

We already know that Nina Simone's daughter does not approve of the project, or the casting, and insists that Nina Simone was told, as a child, that she was "too black" and her nose was "too wide." It's ironic that the singer felt discriminated against, due to her features, and yet instead of hiring a dark-skinned, wide-nosed woman — a type generally overlooked by Hollywood, the light-skinned, slender-nosed, Dominican Saldana was given the role — and she's spend time and money in the makeup chair to look more like Simone. So much work, when the filmmakers could have hired a woman who already resembled the singer. Of course, banking on a familiar name to lure audiences into theaters is understandable. An unknown actress probably would not have created as much buzz for the film. (And this casting has already earned the project tons of free publicity.)

As Mia Mask, the film department chair at Vassar College tells ABC News:

"For black subject matters — whether political, historical or entertainment figures — there's so much at stake, because there's so little opportunity to get these films made."

Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone Darkens Controversy [ABC News]
FIRST LOOK: Zoe Saldana transforms into Nina Simone for new movie [Daily Mail]

Earlier: Nina Simone's Daughter Has Serious Problems With the Nina Simone Biopic Starring Zoe Saldana