Lifetime will have to search for a new lead to portray Aaliyah in an upcoming biopic. The channel has been left reeling as Zendaya Coleman exited the production. Rumors are being floated that the pressure and criticism of the cast got to the young actress and singer. The singer has pushed back saying the whole process ‘felt rushed’.
Zendaya is just 17 and known for her work on Disney’s ‘Shake It Up’ and her appearance on Dancing With the Stars. So far, the only official confirmation of the departure is from Lifetime. “We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.”
As for the singer, her team hasn’t put out an official statement, though the singer’s twitter account did post up a quote to E! news that broke the departure.
“Aaliyah has always been a source of inspiration to Zendaya. She was honored to portray her and pay tribute to her…
— Zendaya (@Zendaya) June 29, 2014
She also spoke to MTV on the red carpet about the possibility of the biopic and her want to get it right. “I just felt the project wasn’t 100% there. She’s someone I admire and I love so much, it can’t be done halfway, or not to the standards I think it should be done at, so I just decided not to do it.”
“By all means, when the right project comes along and it’s done the right way, I’ll be the first person ready to play Aaliyah, but this wasn’t the right one for me. I’ve been into Aaliyah since I was little, so there wasn’t too much getting into character. I always pretend I’m her anyway.”
Any movie or songs that feature Aaliyah are subject to intense backlash from her fans. Her untimely death in 2001 at the age of 22 has made her legacy as a R&B star that much more intense. Production companies have to deal with a contingent of fans who maintain that anything related to the artist has to be perfect.
Here’s hoping that a movie that does her talents justice gets made in the future.