Actress Zoe Saldana is refusing to acknowledge criticism of her casting as Nina Simone in a new biopic because she signed up for the project "out of love" for the jazz legend.

Cynthia Mort, the director of the upcoming film Nina, was forced to defend Saldana as her leading lady last year (12) after receiving backlash from the late musician's daughter, Simone Kelly, and Grammy winner India.Arie, who branded her appointment "ridiculous".

Saldana remained silent throughout the controversy, but now she has spoken out to address the situation having recently wrapped the shoot.

The actress also insists she won't be paying too much attention to what reviewers have to say about the finished product because she is proud of her work.

She tells, "What keeps me focused and what kept me from getting stressed and hurt by the comments is (that) I'm doing this for my sisters. I'm doing it for my brothers. I don't care who tells me I'm not this and that. I know who I am. I know what Nina Simone means to me. That is my truth and that is what set me free.

"I did it out of love. Out of love for Nina. Out of love for my people. For who I am. My pride of being a Black woman. A Latina woman. An American woman. That's my truth."

Saldana has already been given one big boost of confidence ahead of the film's release later this year (13) - her co-star David Oyelowo recently heaped praise on the Avatar beauty for her performance in the movie, insisting she will prove her detractors wrong with her "fantastic" portrayal of Simone.