The day before Maggie Gyllenhaal began working on a new and challenging project, the actress saw the Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? about the life of legendary singer and music icon, Nina Simone. She discovered that the film was the salve she needed. "I was beyond inspired by the movie. I spent the whole shoot listening to Nina Simone in my trailer," says Gyllenhaal.
Recently nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, What Happened, Miss Simone? showcases the life of this brilliant, dynamic, passionate and deeply tormented music icon with rare footage and recordings that have never been seen or heard before. Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina Simone's daughter, who was interviewed on camera and is one of the film's executive producers shared her mother's intimate letters and diaries. The film's director, Liz Garbus, felt a strong pull to shed light on Nina Simone's life -- including her pain and struggles with depression and bipolar disorder. "As an artist, she suffered," says Garbus, who was nominated for an Oscar for The Farm: Angola, USA. "Many people have known Nina Simone's genius, but I didn't want to shy away from the fact that she was an extremely complicated human being who had her foibles and weaknesses."
Gyllenhaal and other great filmmakers and artists including Darren Aronofsky, Joe Berlinger, Steve Buscemi, Leon Gast, Barbara Kopple and Sam Pollard, hosted a special luncheon to honor the documentary. Celebrities shared the impact that Nina Simone had on their lives. Go to this Parade.com story to read their impressions and see photos from the event that was held at the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City.
(Photo Credit: Marion Curtis/Starpix)