Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Orlando Jones Says Goodbye to 'Sleepy Hollow' Orlando Jones Says Goodbye to 'Sleepy Hollow' Here's the Character Lupita Nyong'o Plays in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' + Jar Jar Binks Dead? Here's the Character Lupita Nyong'o Plays in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' + Jar Jar Binks Dead? Dee Rees Talks Making of 'Bessie,' Her Approach, Challenges as a Black Female Director, Filmmaker Tips, More... Dee Rees Talks Making of 'Bessie,' Her Approach, Challenges as a Black Female Director, Filmmaker Tips, More... Weekend B.O. May 1-3 (The $187 Million Disappointment) Weekend B.O. May 1-3 (The $187 Million Disappointment) Deon Cole, Nicki Minaj, Regina Hall and Eve Join 'Barbershop 3' Cast Deon Cole, Nicki Minaj, Regina Hall and Eve Join 'Barbershop 3' Cast A New Month Begins with New Titles Added to Netflix's Streaming Library. Here Are Your Options... A New Month Begins with New Titles Added to Netflix's Streaming Library. Here Are Your Options... Newcomer Kascion Franklin Lands Lead Role in BBC Drama Feature 'Danny and the Human Zoo' with Destiny Ekaragha Directing Newcomer Kascion Franklin Lands Lead Role in BBC Drama Feature 'Danny and the Human Zoo' with Destiny Ekaragha Directing Taraji P Henson Thanks UK Fans for Illegally Streaming 'Empire' Which Led to Its Pickup + UK Reactions to the Show Taraji P Henson Thanks UK Fans for Illegally Streaming 'Empire' Which Led to Its Pickup + UK Reactions to the Show A New Film Studio Grows in Uganda - Wakaliwood A New Film Studio Grows in Uganda - Wakaliwood You Will Be Moved By the Atmospheric First Full Trailer for 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' You Will Be Moved By the Atmospheric First Full Trailer for 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Wendell Pierce Will Play Clarence Thomas Opposite Kerry Washington's Anita Hill in HBO's 'Confirmation,' Directed by Rick Famuyiwa Wendell Pierce Will Play Clarence Thomas Opposite Kerry Washington's Anita Hill in HBO's 'Confirmation,' Directed by Rick Famuyiwa Crowdfund This: Feature Film, 'The Last Black Man in San Francisco' Crowdfund This: Feature Film, 'The Last Black Man in San Francisco' Indie Box Office: How Did the Queen Latifah Exec Produced Indie Drama 'Brotherly Love' Do? Indie Box Office: How Did the Queen Latifah Exec Produced Indie Drama 'Brotherly Love' Do? Watch 'Deadpan' - an Early Short Work by Steve McQueen Inspired by Buster Keaton Watch 'Deadpan' - an Early Short Work by Steve McQueen Inspired by Buster Keaton Barbie Is Honoring Ava DuVernay (and Other "Sheroes") With Her Very Own Doll. Have a Look... Barbie Is Honoring Ava DuVernay (and Other "Sheroes") With Her Very Own Doll. Have a Look... Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Alexandra Shipp Will Replace Zendaya in Lifetime's Aaliyah Biopic + Wendy Williams Joins As Exec Producer

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act July 18, 2014 at 11:58AM

Based on the bestseller "Aaliyah: More Than a Woman" by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher Farley, the Lifetime Original Movie is to be filmed this summer to be premiered in the Fall.
26
Alexandra Shipp
Alexandra Shipp

The above tweet is from Wendy Williams who has apparently signed on to executive produce Lifetime's Aaliyah biopic. As you can see, she also reveals that Alexandra Shipp has been cast in the title role, replacing the exiting Zendaya, who was initially cast to play the late songstress in the project.

It was just 3 weeks ago when the announcement of Zendaya's casting was made, so exit seemed a bit sudden. The 17-year-old, as I posited, may have also been partly influenced by some of the criticism the project received after her casting was announced; specifically, Aaliyah's family has been vocal about their opposition to a small screen adaptation for Aaliyah's story, wanting a feature film made for the big screen instead, with *name* actors.

"We want a major studio release along the lines of 'What's Love Got to Do with It,' the Tina Turner movie... This needs A-list actors, A-list talent that can breathe life into what we think is a phenomenal story," said Jomo Hankerson, Aaliyah's cousin and president of her label, Blackground Records.

Certainly Alexandra Shipp isn't exactly an A-list actor, is she? So one can only assume that the family still won't be pleased with this casting announcement.

Also worth noting, the family is outraged because they were not consulted for the film, and they promised to block Lifetime from acquiring any rights to Aaliyah's songs.

Let's see whether Aaliyah's family's vehement and vocal opposition to the project, as well as backlash from fans of Aaliyah, over the project's casting, are also of influence on Shipp's decision to take on the role.

Shipp is most notable for her role as KT Rush on the show "House of Anubis." She has also appeared on "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," "Switched at Birth," and "Victorious." She most recently booked the lead role in the upcoming "Drumline" sequel set up at VH1, "Drumline 2: A New Beat."

Based on the bestseller "Aaliyah: More Than a Woman" by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher Farley, the Lifetime Original Movie is to be filmed this summer to be premiered in the Fall.

Howard Braunstein ("The Informant!") and Debra Martin Chase ("The Princess Diaries," "Sparkle") were serving as executive producers.  

Bradley Walsh ("Turn the Beat Around") was to direct from a script written by Michael Elliot ("Brown Sugar").

RELATED: At Your Best: The Cinematic Potential of Aaliyah's Life and Music

This article is related to: Alexandra Shipp, TV News, Wendy Williams


Shadow & ActNewsletter