The Aaliyah Biopic Just Hit A Huge Bump

by Alanna Bennett

There was a whole lot of hooplah when Lifetime cast Disney star Zendaya to play Aliyah in an upcoming, highly unauthorized biopic. Now that hooplah seems to be continuing — if only for Lifetime, and not for Zendaya. It's been confirmed that Zendaya has quit the Aaliyah biopic. So why the departure?

Turns out it was just too much controversy for the young star. Controversy bubbled up around the project pretty much as soon as it was announced — though it ultimately had less to do with Zendaya herself (though fans did complain about the difference in appearance between the two) and more to do with the fact that Aaliyah's family felt completely shut out of the process. Th family cautioned fans to be respectful of Zendaya but made it clear they were no big fans of the movie being made in the first place.

Considering Zendaya's a public, big fan of Aaliyah that must have been a pretty strange, stressful situation to be in — compacted by the fact that the disapproval has made it difficult for the production to obtain the rights to use Aaliyah's music. A source told E! that "Aaliyah has always been an inspiration to Zendaya. She was honored to portray her and pay tribute to her. If she is going to do it, she wants to do it right."

Now without a leading lady it is yet to be seen what will come of Lifetime's plans for the film. They're hardly strangers to the unauthorized biopic — William & Kate , anyone? — but it's ostensibly hard to make a biopic about a famous music star without access to any of their songs.