Mary J. Blige Talks Wanting To Play Nina Simone In A Biopic [VIDEO]

Mary J. Blige

Plus, the ‘Mudbound’ star shouts out Angela Bassett, Taraji P. Henson, and more.

Not only has Mary J. Blige won nine Grammy Awards for her musical output, but the Queen of Hip Hop Soul also earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the 90th Academy Awards.

Mary J. Blige stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote her Mary Can! children’s book and her upcoming Strength Of A Woman Festival. The conversation also included MJB discussing her move into the acting world.

“Acting is kinda new for me. I’ve been acting for a long time, but… [I didn’t see the Oscar nomination] coming. That’s why I say it’s new for me,” Mary J. Blige told Stephen Colbert. “I still have a lot of work to do.”

The star of the Netflix drama Mudbound continued, “Acting is a challenge. It challenges me to study more, to study the craft more. With singing, I can do that in my sleep… But acting is hard… It’s a challenge, and I like a challenge.”

Mary J. Blige Shouts Out Some Of Her Acting Inspirations

Additionally, Mary J. Blige mentioned Oscar-nominated actresses Angela Bassett, Taraji P. Henson, and Queen Latifah as well as Oscar winners Regina King and Denzel Washington as some of her acting inspirations. She also named Hollywood veteran Regina Hall.

Colbert then asked Blige if there is a specific life story that she would like to help tell on the big screen. The Good Morning Gorgeous album creator answered, “I’ve always wanted to play Nina Simone because I want to learn how to play the piano. And I love her songs. They’re very dark and moody. I can always find a place for that.”

Numerous filmmakers have created documentaries about Nina Simone, including Netflix’s Oscar-nominated What Happened, Miss Simone? by director Liz Garbus. Zoe Saldana played the Soul/Jazz legend in the 2016 scripted biographical film Nina.

Mary J. Blige received two nominations at the 90th Academy Awards in 2018 – Best Supporting Actress (Mudbound) and Best Original Song (“Mighty River”). Her participation in the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show won her an Emmy Award in 2022.