*The long-planned market screening of “Nina,” a biopic about legendary jazz singer Nina Simone starring Zoe Saldana, went ahead May 15 despite a lawsuit filed by director Cynthia Mort claiming its British production company has hijacked the film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the suit was filed May 14 in Los Angeles, just hours before U.K. sales and finance banner Metro International screened the film for buyers. Mort alleges producer Ealing Studios Enterprises, has breached the terms of her director deal by cutting her out of the final editing process. She seeks a court ruling requiring her inclusion.
According to the complaint, Mort, a well-known TV writer (“Roseanne,” “Will & Grace”) making her feature directorial debut, spent years getting the project off the ground but was frozen out of key decisions as the $10 million to $12 million project neared completion.
“It’s a passion project for everyone involved and we’re disappointed with what has happened,” responds one source close to the production. “The lawsuit is factually inaccurate. We’re considering our options but the film has gone over well. Zoe Saldana has done a terrific job.”
By the way, buyers polled by The Hollywood Reporter after the screening say they liked the film they saw.