Late R&B singer Aaliyah to be portrayed by Disney star Zendaya in Lifetime biopic

06.16.14 3 years ago 17 Comments

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Aaliyah is getting the biopic treatment from Lifetime.

Zendaya Coleman, star of The Disney Channel's “Shake It Up” and a contestant on Season 16 of “Dancing with the Stars,” has signed on to play the late R&B singer in a new Original Movie on the network that will film this summer and premiere in the fall, Lifetime announced today. Based on the book “Aaliyah: More Than a Woman” by Christopher Farley, “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” will chart the singer's rise from Star Search contestant at age 10 to internationally-recognized recording star (and budding actress) before her life was tragically cut short in a plane crash at the age of 22.

In addition to starring, Zendaya (who paid homage to the late singer in the music video for her platinum-selling single “Replay”) will also record four of Aaliyah's songs for the film, which is set to be directed by  Bradley Walsh (“Turn the Beat Around”) from a script by Michael Elliot (“Brown Sugar”).

Zendaya recently released her debut self-titled full-length album and will next be seen in the upcoming Disney Channel Original Series “K.C. Undercover” and the Disney Channel Original Movie “Zapped,” the latter of which premieres this summer.

Aaliyah released three albums during her lifetime (all of which went double-platinum) and scored a total of five Grammy nominations, including three posthumous nods for her final self-titled album and its accompanying singles. In 2000 she scored a Billboard No. 1 single with “Try Again” off the soundtrack for “Romeo Must Die,” a film she also starred in alongside Jet Li. Her second feature film, “Queen of the Damned” opposite Stuart Townsend, was released several months after her death.

Since her untimely death Aaliyah has been the subject of a number of posthumous “collaborations,” including an appearance on Chris Brown's 2013 single “They Don't Know” (ahem), the Drake-featuring track “Enough Said” and a yet-to-materialize album produced by the Toronto rapper.

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