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The teenage actress and singer Zendaya Coleman has pulled out of a Lifetime biopic about Aaliyah, just two weeks after confirming that she'd be taking the lead. Aaliyah: Princess of R&B has battled controversy since its inception, with Aaliyah's family members threatening legal action against Lifetime and a Twitter backlash describing Zendaya as "not black enough" for the part.
"I just felt the project wasn’t 100 per cent there," she told MTV News. "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."
We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.— LifetimePR (@LifetimeTV_PR) June 29, 2014
Aaliyah's family have always maintained their opposition to the Lifetime biopic. In an open letter, they stated: "Aaliyah is an American music icon whose legacy continues to live on and influence today’s music culture. She deserves to have a tribute much more grand than a television network debut that won’t even consider the perspectives of those who were closest to Aaliyah."
But that's not the only problem hitting the troubled production. A source told E! News on Sunday that the film has also had difficulty obtaining the rights to Aaliyah's music. The film was originally slated for release in the autumn of this year, but now it appears unlikely that the biopic will ever see the light of day.
Follow Thomas Gorton on Twitter here @angstromhoot