It was first announced two weeks ago that the 17-year-old singer and actress Zendaya was cast as Aaliyah in Lifetime Network’s upcoming biopic. However, today it has been confirmed that the teen star has dropped out of the project.
A rep for the actress confirmed the news to the Daily News today, saying that the former Disney star was “no longer involved in the project.”
“Aaliyah has always been an inspiration to Zendaya,” the source said to E! News. “She was honored to portray her and pay tribute to her. If she is going to do it, she wants to do it right.”
Production was scheduled to begin this summer on the tentatively titled Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, with what the network hoped would be a fall premiere.
These aren’t the only complications that may push back production though, there are also a number of production issues (such as acquiring the rights to Aaliyah’s music) surrounding the project according to a source that spoke with E! News.
Aaliyah’s family has been very vocal about their feelings on the film. They are not happy with a TV film being made, instead they would like a full-length feature film with an A-list cast attached to the project. Aaliyah’s cousin and president of her label, Blackground Records recently spoke to Daily News saying that, “We want a major studio release along the lines of ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It,’ the Tina Turner movie. This needs A-list actors, A-list talent that can breathe life into what we think is a phenomenal story.”