Zendaya to Star in Lifetime’s Aaliyah Biopic

Zendaya Aaliyah Movie: Zendaya to Star
Andrew Toth/Getty

Singer-actress Zendaya is set to star in Lifetime’s original movie “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” (working title) about the life of the late actress and R&B artist Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2001.

Zendaya will record four of Aaliyah’s songs for the film, based on the bestseller “Aaliyah: More Than a Woman” by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher Farley.

Known to most by only her first name, Aaliyah Dana Haughton made her debut on “Star Search” at age 10 and was only 22 years old when a plane carrying her and some of her video crew crashed after taking off from a Bahamian runway. The film will depict her journey and rise to fame.

Like the young star she will portray, Zendaya has delved into both music and acting and even landed the runner-up spot on season 16 of “Dancing With the Stars.” After starring on the Disney Channel series “Shake It Up!” Zendaya released her self-titled 2013 debut full-length album. She is also set to star in the upcoming Disney Channel original series “K.C. Undercover” and the Disney Channel original movie “Zapped,” which premieres this summer.

“Aaliyah:Princess of R&B” will be produced by Aaliyah Productions, Inc. with Howard Braunstein and Debra Martin Chase serving as exec producers.  Bradley Walsh will direct from Michael Elliot’s script.

The telefilm will be filmed this summer and is slated to premiere in the fall.

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  1. ashley says:

    don’t be sad be happy because you will always and will be my best beautiful and favourite actress.

  2. erica ellis says:

    Like really yall couldnt get any one else i just seen two females who auditioned for the role one girl looks just like her the other one sounds just like her come now yall slippin

  3. borninthe80s says:

    Zendaya is perfect for this role.

    • StopDaMadness says:

      No. Aaliyah exudes a dynamic energy, that I truly believe she can’t capture. They should have cast the net wider, maybe even used an unknown actress to avoid the preconceived notions. Aaliyah was effortlessly smooth,sultry, mystic and stylish. This one will try and bring that forward but it’s something you either have or you don’t, and she doesn’t in yes MY opinion.

  4. logyn says:

    Zendaya is a great actor and i think she would be a good person to play as Aaliyah so keep the negative comments to ya self if you don’t got nothing nice to say don’t say nothing at all

  5. DanniGee says:

    Ya that race thing is dumb no one should even be saying dumb things like that but on that note I have to agree with some because biopics need to cast someone who is either identical to the person or at
    East have similar features people want to watch it and think there watching Aaliyah and to be honest zendaya looks absolutely nothing like her it’s going to be like watchn a zendaya biopic straight up so for the people who casted her good luck because your gona get a lot of negative feedback by a lot of Aaliyah fans out there SMH :/

  6. Adam says:

    The hate is strong here. First of all, Zendaya is African-American. Just because she’s lighter skinned than Aaliyah, doesn’t mean she can’t accurately play her on the small screen. Second, just because she’s a Disney kid, doesn’t mean she can’t act. Those shows want a certain style of acting, and portrayal of their characters. Not her fault. This is a role that Zendaya has dreamed of, considering she patterns herself, and her music, after her. Let her have this, you sad pathetic haters.

    That being said, if the family is not behind this movie, do not make it. It will not be fair to them, fair to the memory of Aaliyah, nor fair to Zendaya. She deserves a fair chance.

  7. Priscilla Fumero says:

    I loved Aaliyah when I was a teenager. I cried when passed away in 2001. I’m looking forward to it.

  8. Gigi says:

    Are yall smokin dope or dogfood?that girl is the right fit for playing Aaliyah she doesnt look like her sound like her dance like THE GIRL NOT EVEN BLACK!!!!!!y’all blind or some?Whoever made the final decision needs to get smacked by Aaliyah’s dead body at least then you’ll realize who y’all makin a movie about!!!!

  9. Sable senegal says:

    I’m so proud of Zendaya, she’s been wanting this role for a long time.aaliyah is one of her idols.

  10. Chasity says:

    That was horrible casting…

  11. She’s not even a American/African like Aaliyah was?!

    • It was mean to read She is even an American/African like Aaliyah was?!

      • NJ says:

        El stupido Zendaya is half black, and i think she a great young talent. they never cast actors who look like the people. the guy who played BIGGIE looked nothing like him….even the guy who played tupac in the biggie movie looked nothing like him.

  12. I had seen a few episodes of shake it up and am sorry to say it was one of the worst from disney. She is pretty girl but her acting skills are questionable. And she is.. well seems annoying.

  13. wtf says:

    If Aaliyah’s family don’t want a movie… Wtf are they making it? Why expose the horrible experience Aaliyah and everyone else suffered? Just respect Aaliyah’s family and not make a movie for a quick buck… Disrespectful ass people nowadays…

    • StopDaMadness says:

      That’s my thing. The family doesn’t want this movie coming forward…and especially without them being the ones to cast,choose and tell the story how they want THEIR family member portrayed and remembered. It’s disrespectful! If you are such a FAN of hers (Zendaya) then why do something her family doesn’t agree with?

    • Yass says:

      yasss. her mom already didn’t want her music out and her brother was like no one can play my sister. people are so inconsiderate and selfish.

  14. taralyn28 says:

    Oohh I think CIARA would have been great snd zendaya is only seventeen what does she know about aaliyah?

    • Brandy says:

      It would have to be someone young as Aaliya was young when she passed. Just because she is young doesn’t mean she doesn’t know anything either. Give the girl a chance. And you need someone you can act and dance more than looks just like her. You can do a lot with make up to make the actor look closer to the person they are portraying. Just take it easy. Why can’t people just enjoy the idea that we may get a little more of our Princess back, even though NO ONE they cast is going to be her.
      I do agree it is disrespectful to make the film when her family doesn’t want it. Who is making it and are they ready to get sued?

    • lexi says:

      zendaya has dressed up at aaliyah for halloween and has said multiple times already that she’s her inspiration you’d be surprised

  15. Latoya S says:

    I don’t think anyone will ever be able to fill Aaliyah’s shoes but I think Keisha Chante is a better fit.Zendaya is a baby I think Kiely Willams from the cheetah Girls would have been a better fit.

  16. Jay says:

    Stop hating on her! Zendaya has a great positive spirit! she can dance her ass off and she sings and she acts. She’s going to do a great job.

  17. Lana says:

    Sorry I don’t like the idea. She’s a spoiled brat and has no personality and looks nothing like Aaliyah. Zendaya had a bad attitude on DWTS and she’s obnoxious to me. Damn, if they wanted zendaya to be the star they could’ve picked keke Palmer or Ciara or any other random. Zendaya is a pretty girl but she’s just gonna walk around with a bigger head now. She has the personality of a banana and thinks she’s all that. So hell no.

  18. jade says:

    Hell no

  19. Jacqueline childs says:

    I see a lot of hate without even seeing the movie. I have been an Aaliyah fan from day one. I can honestly say Zendaya IS the only logical choice for this role. IMO it is as if Aaliyah lives on by the young star. ZendayA is a great singer dancer actor who admires Aaliyah . She is going to give this role of a lifetime her all. I for one cannot wait haters move on u don’t have a valid case

    • Brittney says:

      The sad part about it is that Aaliyah’s family doesn’t want the movie. Yeah Zendaya is a good singer and dancer but there will never be anyone who can play her. If her family didn’t want this than we ALL have to respect their wishes.

  20. Nope. I think Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child bears a very striking resemblance to Aaliyah. She would have done. As much hype as people would cause, B.Scott also looks very alike with Aaliyah as well. This girl can play her maybe at 14 but nothing past that.

    • StopDaMadness says:

      I agree. Why they chose this bobble headed girl, i don’t know. Michelle has a slender face, and with some of her hairstyles does resemble her. Unfortunately, she can’t sound like Aaliyah. As much as I was annoyed by this group when they came out in the early Aaliyah days, I think they could have cast one of the girls from the 90s group GYRL “Play another slow jam” that featured the sisters of Jhene Aiko (depending on what they look like now). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnRWSLep5Jw This Zendaya, girl NO WAY….can’t see it. I think watching her would just piss a lot of Aaliyah fans off.

      • StopDaMadness says:

        Okay, just saw the girls from GYRL now…..scratch them. NIce girls, but no Aaliyah.

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