This year, music subjects seem to be the way into big-screen cinema for new female directors. We've already had Floria Sigismondi offer up her take on The Runaways, and now it's time for a little less rebellion, courtesy of Roseanne and Tell Me You Love Me scribe/producer/creator Cynthia Mort. The Hollywood Reporter posts that she's pushing forward with the long-gestating musical biopic called Nina, and if you've been following the project, Mary J. Blige will play the iconic, hip-swaying Nina Simone.

Known for her low, expressive voice, Simone dug through a number of musical genres from gospel to jazz, getting dubbed The High Priestess of Soul. The film will focus specifically on her relationship with her assistant Clifton Henderson, who will be played by David Oyelowo (he's also busy playing Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma). According to Wikipedia, it will be based on the singer's own autobiography, I Put a Spell on You.

It's hard to peg this production. Of course, Blige has talent, but hers is wrapped in the flashy, polished package. Can she lose the polish, put it out there, and play the woman who'd break in and out of song? And, more importantly, is Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself enough to prep her to embody Ms. Simone? Check out videos of both singers after the jump (plus a brief 2009 interview with Blige chatting about the biopic) and weigh in below.