Disney Channel star Zendaya will not play singer/actress Aaliyah in a Lifetime Original Movie about the pop star’s short life after all. The network announced on its Twitter Sunday (June 29) that “Shake It Up” star Zendaya had exited the project, putting the whole thing on hold.
“We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold,” the network’s official PR account Tweeted.
Although there hasn’t been a reason given for Zendaya’s exit, a source tells E! News that production issues had plagued the project, and there were reportedly issues in securing the rights to Aaliyah’s music. Zendaya had gotten criticism that she wasn’t “black enough” for the role.
“Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” was supposed to be based off of Christopher Farley’s biography of the singer, who died at age 22 in a plane crash in 2001. Filming was scheduled to begin in the summer.
However, Aaliyah’s estate tweeted after the project was announced that it was not officially sanctioned by the family.
Fans we hear your comments and concerns !! unfortunately we cannot confirm the family is behind the project at this time
— Aaliyah (@AaliyahHaughton) June 17, 2014