Zendaya to Play Aaliyah in New Lifetime Original Movie: Details
Are you that somebody, Zendaya? We're about to find out. Lifetime announced on Monday, June 16, that Disney actress and "Replay" singer Zendaya, 17, has been cast as Aaliyah in a new made-for-TV movie about the late R&B superstar, who died at age 22 in a plane crash in 2001.
The biopic—Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, based on the bestselling book Aaliyah: More Than a Woman—will tell the story of the "One in a Million" singer's life and death, from her debut on Star Search to her rise to her fame and, finally, her tragic passing. Dancing With the Stars alum Zendaya will appear in the title role, and is set to record four of Aaliyah's hit songs for the film.
Helmed by Turn the Beat Around director Bradley Walsh, with a script by Brown Sugar screenwriter Michael Elliot, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B will shoot this summer. It's set to premiere in the fall.
Incidentally, Aaliyah isn't the only gone-too-soon diva whose life story is getting the small-screen treatment from Lifetime. Legendary singer Whitney Houston is also the subject of an upcoming movie from the network.
According to a press release about the project, I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story will chronicle "the headline-making relationship between the iconic singer, actress, producer, and model, and singer-songwriter Bobby Brown—from the time they first met at the very height of their celebrity, to their courtship and tumultuous marriage." Angela Bassett, who costarred with Houston in 1995's Waiting to Exhale, has been tapped to direct, and America's Next Top Model alum Yaya DaCosta will play the title role.