Zendaya Coleman exits Aaliyah biopic project just weeks after Lifetime announced the movie. In a statement on Twitter, Lifetime said, “We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.”
The biopic entitled Aaliyah: Princess of R&B was scheduled to begin filming over the summer with a premiere date in the fall. The script for the movie was based on a book by Christopher Farley entitled Aaliyah: More Than a Woman.
Zendaya, 17, was cast as Aaliyah and she was supposed to record four songs that would be used in the movie. According to executive producer Debra Martin Chase, Coleman was the choice to play Aaliyah, as “she has Aaliyah’s spirit.” Zendaya recorded part of a song to be used in the movie and the producers were impressed.
We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.
— LifetimePR (@LifetimeTV_PR) June 29, 2014
Zendaya receives opposition from Aaliyah fans
— Sydney Gore (@sydegee) June 30, 2014
I think it's BS that @Zendaya is not playing Aaliyah in the biopic. Just too much haters!
— Fame (@Diaryof_Clay) June 29, 2014
Nooo...@Zendaya backed out?!! I hope it wasn't because of the criticisms from the a small group off haters in the world...or her family?
— edualC McCoy (@leReelmccoy) June 30, 2014
Production for the movie was also halted for a few other reasons. One of which is that the producers were not able to secure the rights to Aaliyah’s music. After the announcement of the biopic, Aaliyah’s family said that they would do everything they can to prevent Aaliyah’s music from being used in the film.
Aaliyah’s cousin Jomo Hankerson said that their family is seeking help from a lawyer regarding issues about music rights. “We want a major studio release along the lines of What’s Love Got to Do with It,’ the Tina Turner movie,” Hankerson told The New York Daily.
Chase said, “This film will provide a heartfelt look at Aaliyah’s extraordinary and all-too-short life journey that we hope will provide inspiration to an entirely new generation.”
Aaliyah died at the age of 22 when her plane traveling from The Bahamas to the United States crashed shortly after it took off. She was with eight others and no one survived the accident.
Image via YouTube