Alexandra Shipp’s Casting as Aaliyah in Lifetime Biopic Won’t Change Family’s Gripe
Despite objections from Aaliyah‘s family, it looks like the Lifetime biopic on the singer is once again underway, as actress Alexandra Shipp (House of Anubis) has replaced Zendaya Coleman in the film’s lead role.
Also, television personality Wendy Williams has signed on as an executive producer.
The casting change seems to work for fans who feel Alexandra looks more like the late star, although — like Zendaya — she is half Caucasian.
However, Aaliyah’s family didn’t have as much of an issue with Zendaya as they did with the small-screen production and not being consulted for the film.
“We want a major studio release along the lines of ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It,’ the Tina Turner movie…” said Jomo Hankerson, Aaliyah’s cousin and president of her music label, Blackground Records. “This needs A-list actors, A-list talent that can breathe life into what we think is a phenomenal story.”
In addition to her role in the Nickelodeon series House of Anubis, 23-year-old Alexandra has also appeared in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Switched at Birth, Victorious and Awkward.
Most recently, she has booked the lead role in VH1’s upcoming Drumline sequel, Drumline 2: A New Beat.
Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic is based on the bestseller Aaliyah: More Than a Woman by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher Farley.
Set to be filmed this Summer and to premiere in the Fall, the movie has been adapted from a script written by Michael Elliot (Brown Sugar), and will be directed by Bradley Walsh (Turn the Beat Around).
Wendy joins executive producers Howard Braunstein (The Informant!) and Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries).