The Disney Channel star who was set to play the late R&B singer Aaliyah in a high-profile Lifetime biopic has bailed out on the TV movie, saying in effect that the project isn't ready for prime time.
Zendaya talked about her exit from “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B" on the red carpet at Sunday's BET Awards.
Variety quotes Zendaya saying: “Basically, I just felt that because I love her, and because I respect her so much as an artist, I don’t want to do anything that’s half or anything that’s less for her. I felt like some things with the production weren’t all the way there, the project wasn’t all the way there. If I’m going to do something for someone I care about so much, I have to do it the right way.”
Aaliyah's family has been fighting the project, the report notes. "Aaliyah’s cousin and president of her label Blackground Records Jomo Hankerson told the New York Daily News that the family wanted a bigger release for a biopic on the late R&B singer than Lifetime could provide," Variety reports. "Hankerson said the family wanted a 'major studio release,' citing Tina Turner film 'What’s Love Got To Do With It.'”
Zendaya indicated she's still interested in playing Aaliyah. Variety quotes her saying: “Honestly, I feel like I’m waiting for the right role to come up and I’ll be doing it again."
The report adds: "Zendaya’s departure from the film has caused production to be put on hold, Lifetime announced. Zendaya was also set to record four songs for the movie, based on 'Aaliyah: Princess of R&B' by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher John Farley."