17-year-old Disney star Zendaya has dropped out of the Lifetime Aaliyah biopic, her rep confirmed to Us Weekly. The young up-and-comer also shared the news with her fans on her official Twitter account, saying, "Aaliyah has always been a source of inspiration to Zendaya ... She was honored to portray her and pay tribute to her. If she is going to do it, she wants to do it right."
After the announcement earlier this month that the former Dancing With the Stars contestant would portray the late great R&B singer, there were complaints that she wasn't the right choice. Some people thought her skin was too light, while others thought she was too inexperienced to play the "Try Again" singer, who was killed at 22 in a plane crash in 2001.
Lifetime also tweeted the news of Zendaya's departure from the project, saying, "We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold."
While there's no other "official" information behind the decision to halt production, Aaliyah's family has been vocal about their opposition to the endeavor. They don't feel like a small screen adaptation will do justice to the singer's life, and apparently are refusing to release the rights for her music to be used.
Jomo Hankerson, Aaliyah's cousin and president of her label, Blackground Records, said, "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."
The family was also upset that they were not even consulted for the film. Hankerson said, "They have people they can talk to, people who can provide lots of color ... but if you don't talk to us, it's not in the story."
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Sounds like it's kind of a mess over there. All we can do is speculate on the reasons Zendaya dropped out of the project, but I doubt it has anything to do with not wanting to play Aaliyah.
She tweeted earlier this month, "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 ... Show how much she accomplished in only 22 years....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 #babygirl #forever #OneInAMillion."
Would you like to see a movie about Aaliyah on the big screen?
Image via Zendaya/Instagram