It's been 13 years since her death and now a film about Aaliyah is finally being released. No, it's not a feature length biographical film filled with Oscar-bait, dramatic scenes, and no, it's not even an HBO movie complete with the most A-list of stars and a huge name in the director's chair, like fans would have hoped. Instead, we are getting an unauthorized biopic from Lifetime. Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B airs Saturday night and many fans are understandably worried and intrigued to see what the network does with the story od one of the most talented young singers of our generation. But while it's easy to gush over the artists amazing musical endeavors, will the movie talk at all about Aaliyah's potential movie career? Before Aaliyah tragically passed away, she made two films and while neither received critical acclaim, both proved that Aaliyah had the potential to be a big star on screen as well as on stage.
Both of Aaliyah's films, Romeo Must Die and Queen of the Damned, showed Aaliyah's acting prowess, while her talent was raw and needed a little more finesse, she was mesmerizing to watch and could have easily joined the ranks of other great artists turned actors like Mos Def, Common, Mark Wahlberg, and more.
Romeo Must Die was Aaliyah's first big break onto the big screen. The film, released in 2000, starred Jet Li and Aaliyah in a hip hop and action-packed Romeo and Juliet-style premise, and also featured rapper DMX, Delroy Lindo, and Isaiah Washington. Yes, that Isaiah Washington. The movie received mixed reviews, with many criticizing the script and the over-edited action sequences. But Li and Aaliyah's performances received praise, as did their chemistry, though the film didn't really spend enough time on their romance to really make their scenes together sizzle. Here's a scene between Aaliyah and DMX to get a little tease of her on-screen talents.
Aaliyah's film career took an interesting turn when she was cast in Warner Brother's Queen of the Damned, a loose interpretation of the last novel in Ann Rice's vampire trilogy featuring the vampire characters Lestat and Akasha, the titular "Queen of the Damned," who apparently takes pleasure in destroying all life.
While the movie, released in 2002 after Aaliyah's death, was pretty much dismissed, Aaliyah herself received positive reviews despite the movie dubbing her at times and the film overall being panned. Many critics said that Aaliyah looked to be having the time of her life playing such an eccentric, evil character, which is why her performance resonated over anyone else's onscreen. Here's Aaliyah relishing in her character Akasha's carnage.
If she had lived longer, there's no question that Aaliyah could have done great things in the film world. Let's hope that among other things, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B at least touches upon the late singer's silver screen talent.
Image: Warner Brothers