19-year-old Disney Channel Star Zendaya Coleman has pulled out of the Aaliyah biopic that was set to begin filming this summer for Lifetime.
“Because it’s someone that I honor and I respect so much, it has to be 128 percent, especially for all her fans, including myself,” said Coleman. “I didn’t feel like it was all the way there, so I didn’t want to do that. And when the time comes when it’s done right and it’s 100 percent, by all means, I will be the first person there ready to go.”
Lifetime announced Coleman’s intentions to star in the film two weeks ago, as well as their plans to have the young star record several of the late R&B singer’s hits.
Aaliyah’s family is reportedly not supporting the project, and Coleman received backlash from fans who believe she is too light-skinned to portray Aaliyah.
— E! Online (@eonline) June 29, 2014
Coleman most recently competed in season 16 of Dancing with the Stars and is set to appear in two upcoming Disney films.
— Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan) June 30, 2014
“She’s been an inspiration and influence in my whole career, her talent still shines brighter then ever, all I wanna do is honor her,” Coleman tweeted after her plans to appear in the biopic were announced, “….she’s beautiful inside and there will never be another Aaliyah, I just hope to share her beautiful story, and make her proud up in heaven.”
— ExtraTV (@extratv) June 30, 2014
Aailyah, who passed in 2001 at age 22 in a tragic plane crash, is known for her hits such as “Try Again,” ”Back & Forth,” and “Are You That Somebody?”
— Teen (@teen) June 30, 2014
The biopic, entitled Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, is scheduled for release this fall. Lifetime has not released an official statement on Coleman’s decision to leave the film, but have tweeted that they are “sad” that Coleman will no longer be involved in the project. According to Lifetime, her departure has put the production “on hold.”
We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.
— LifetimePR (@LifetimeTV_PR) June 29, 2014
Image via YouTube