Zoe Saldana 'Simone' Casting Controversy

Zoe Saldana has become a source of controversy after being selected to portray soul singer Nina Simone in an upcoming film by director Cynthia Mort.

The 34-year-old actress is well known for her roles in films such as "Center Stage" and "Avatar," and she is romantically linked to Hollywood favorite Bradley Cooper, but her portrayal of Simone is outraging some.

 Originally, the part was given to Mary. J. Blige, but the singer dropped out of the project due to production delays, according to The International Business Times.

Subsequently, Saldana's replacement has sparked criticism, with many fans of Simone claiming that the Dominican and Puerto Rican actress does not bear a strong enough resemblance to the legendary singer.

Many fans are so upset that a petition urging Mort to replace Saldana "with an actress who actually looks like Nina Simone" ha been started.

"Getting light complexioned actors to play the roles of dark complexioned historical figures if not only a sign of blatant disrespect to the person they are portraying, but it is also disrespectful to their families, to history, and to the people who look like the persons being whitewashed, and to the intelligence of the audience," states the petition, posted onto

As the controversy continues to make waves, Saldana remains a favorite in Hollywood. The actress recently landed a spot among this year's best dressed, according to Vogue magazine.

While Emma Stone earned the cover of Vogue magazine's best-dressed edition this year, Saldana is listed among fashion leaders including Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence, and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Also found on the best dressed list are actresses Rooney Mara, Leelee Sobieski, and Dree Hemingway. Vogue's Best Dressed issue hits newsstands on Nov. 20.

Adding to her accomplishments this month, Saldana will help announce the 2013 Spirit Award nominees alongside actress Anna Kendrick and rapper Common on Nov. 27.

"Anna, Zoe, and Common have become an integral part of the Film Independent family and we are honored to have then join us for this big moment to announce and celebrate the best independent artists of the year," said Sean McManus and Josh Welsh, co-presidents of Film Independent, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The three stars will present the nominations during a press conference at The W Hollywood on Tuesday, Nov 27 at 10 a.m. PT.

Film Independent will announce the winners during the live-to-tape 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards on Feb. 23.

Meanwhile, Saldana often updates her thousands of Twitter followers despite her busy career.

"Happy Friday," the actress posted last week. "Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving? –ZS"

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