FILM

Nina Simone's family was less than pleased after Zoe Saldana was cast as the late singer for the 2016 biographical drama, Nina.

"Please take Nina's name out your mouth," Simone's estate wrote to Saldana on Twitter. "For the rest of your life." Now, Saldana has expressed regret in taking the role.

"I should have never played Nina," Saldana said in an interview with Stephen Canals for BeseBese. "The leverage that I had 10 years ago [was] a different leverage but it was leverage nonetheless. I should have tried everything in my power to cast a Black woman to play an exceptionally perfect Black woman."

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Film Features

How China Is Controlling Hollywood

What "Red Dawn" taught us about defeating Chinese invaders–oops, we mean North Korean.

From Trump threatening to ban TikTok in the US to hordes of angry Americans defending their vituperative rhetoric as "free speech," America is in the midst of a "disinformation war."

But while most concern is (rightfully) centered on misinformation about the global pandemic and the upcoming 2020 election, there's another element of our lives that's being tweaked and manipulated in order to change our perception. A recent report from PEN America, a nonprofit organization that "defends and celebrates freedom of expression," documents how Hollywood has censored itself in order to appease the Chinese Communist Party's strict standards.

As the world's second-largest box office market, China has exerted undue influence over casting, plot, setting, and dialogue–according to the report, titled "Made in Hollywood, Censored by Beijing." Lead author of PEN America's report, James Tager, said, "The Chinese Communist party is increasingly shaping what global audiences see. While we are all well aware of the strict controls that China's government maintains over dissent, independent thought and creativity within its own borders, the long arm of Chinese censorship–powered by vast economic incentives–has also reached deep into Hollywood, shaping perceptions, inculcating sensitivities and reshaping the bounds of what can be shown, said and told."

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Film Features

Is "The Matrix" Really a Trans Allegory? Lilly Wachowski Weighs In

Is it possible for a 90s action movie to have a stance on the politics of gender?

Reddit user nevilee

When The Matrix came out in 1999, the Wachowskis became two of the biggest up-and-coming talents in Hollywood.

Their mind-bending, effects-heavy action movie had quickly become one of the top-earning R-rated movies of all time and successfully launched phase three of Keanu Reeves' constantly evolving, eternal career (currently entering phase six).

However, as is so often the case, the project that earned the Wachowskis their cred was not everything they originally wanted it to be. As Lilly Wachowski put it in a recent interview with Netflix Film Club, "The corporate world wasn't ready for it." If they'd had their way, it would have been a much more overtly trans movie.

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