Lifetime's plan to produce a biopic on the singer Aaliyah is running into resistance from the late music icon’s family.
Barry Hankerson, Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager, told TMZ that the family does not support the upcoming project and have contacted a lawyer to hopefully cease the film’s production.
He added that the family is most upset that no one from the network contacted them about the plans to make the movie, and they hope taking legal action will allow them to block Lifetime’s ability to use any of Aaliyah’s music.
According to Hankerson, the family would be open to a theatrical film on Aaliyah’s life. But they think a TV movie isn’t fitting for an artist of Aaliyah’s influence.
The film, tentatively titled “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B,” experienced its first round of controversy when it was revealed on June 17 that 17-year-old Zendaya Coleman was cast to play Aaliyah. Many fans questioned her resemblance to Aaliyah, while others felt she might not be able to embody the beloved singer. An online petition has even been launched to end the film's production.
But in a statement to TheYBF.com, the film’s casting director, Twinkie Byrd, said she thinks Coleman is the ideal talent to play the role of Aaliyah.
Byrd gave the following statement on her casting decision:
Zendaya embodies everything you want in a Actress to play Aaliyah. She is a Poised, Professional, STRONG Actress (studied at California Shakespeare Theater and American Conservatory Theater). A Triple Threat Actor, Singer Dancer. She LOVES AALIYAH and will do a Wonderful Job! She is of mixed ethnicity. Her name is Bantu (Zimbabwe) meaning "To Give Thanks".
Let's not Hate on it but Congratulate! She is a GREAT CHOICE!