Mounting criticism over the star (Disney Channel breakout Zendaya) and general direction of Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic has led the channel to halt its production entirely. While Zendaya defended her role in the film recently, she decided to drop out over the weekend, telling MTV “I feel [that] production wise everything just felt a little rushed. And I think because she’s someone I admire and I love so much, it can’t be done halfway, or not to the standards I think it should be done at, so I just decided not to do it.
She continued, “By all means, when the right project comes along and it’s done the right way I’ll be the first person ready to play Aaliyah, but this wasn’t the right one for me. I’ve been into Aaliyah since I was little, so there wasn’t too much getting into character. I always pretend I’m her anyway.”
Lifetime’s only statement on the matter thus far has been a Tweet saying “We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.”