Zoe Saldana Replaces Mary J. Blige in Nina Simone Biopic

Zoe Saldana/Photo © Helga Esteb/Shutterstock
Zoe Saldana/Photo © Helga Esteb/Shutterstock

A Nina Simone biopic isn't worth doing unless the casting is exactly right. The final selection of Zoe Saldana is just enough of a wild card that it just might work. Her physical resemblance is extremely mild -- especially compared to Mary J. Blige's, who was thought to have the role locked down until recently -- but perhaps she'll summon the requisite intensity? Nina was known to pack a pistol ... watch her tackle a ten-minute (mostly improvised) cover of "Feelings" and you'll know she's packing even more than that.

In yet another casting switcheroo, Willem Dafoe has scooped up a role originally intended for Philip Seymour Hoffman in the film "A Most Wanted Man," adapted from the John le Carré novel. It's about time someone handed Dafoe a leading man-type  role. He's had practically none -- except "Antichrist," in which he nearly lost his manhood altogether.

Just when you think you've heard everything, you run across the late, great Richard Burton performing the haunting Dylan Thomas poem "Under Milkwood" and you realize that there are still more treasures buried in the twentieth century than we could ever hope to find. Of course, there was nothing wrong with Thomas' own voice: Here's the poet reading his most famous poem, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night."

A bit of trivia in celebration of Shark Week: Lee Fierro, the actress who slapped Sheriff Brody's face in the original "Jaws" film, is frequently approached by fans asking her for a slap of their very own. Fierro's slapped countless faces, but she swears she's finished for the time being. Considering that she was paid to do it the first time, one could hardly expect her to keep repeating the performance for free.