After much criticism, it seems as though Zendaya Coleman has thrown in the towel and will not portray Aaliyah in Liftime’s biopic. Lifetime Television said in a statement on Twitter, “We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.”
According to E! News, a rep for the 17-year-old actress said that “Zendaya is no longer involved in the project.” Lifetime had announced her casting in the biopic on June 16.
A source told E! News that there were production issues, including problems obtaining the rights to Aaliyah’s music. Aaliyah’s family previously threatened a lawsuit against the network, and also said they would stop any attempts to use Aaliyah’s music. In a recent interview, Jomo Hankerson, Aaliyah’s
cousin and president of her record label Blackground Records, expressed the family’s displeasure with the movie.
“This Lifetime thing came out of the blue. We saw it when the press release was released when everybody else did. I think going forward, we will have that conversation because I think that, notwithstanding whatever they do, I know there’s going to be things that they don’t cover because they just don’t have the knowledge to cover it,” Hankerson said.
Now that the movie is without a star, it’ll be interesting to see if Lifetime will go through with it after all.