Twinkle-toed Disney star Zendaya Coleman (Shake It Up, Dancing with the Stars) has edged 106 & Park hostess (and Aaliyah doppelganger) Keshia Chante right out of the running for the role of late music legend Aaliyah in yet another R&B-inspired Lifetime biopic.
Zendaya has been cast as the “Hot Like Fire” singer in the upcoming made-for-TV movie, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B. The biopic is based on the bestselling tome Aaliyah: More Than A Woman, penned by former Time magazine music editor Chirstopher Farley.
The movie will be the first on-screen telling of the beloved performer’s life. Princess of R&B is expected to examine Aaliyah’s early success as a child protégé from Detroit and her debut on the TV talent series Star Search through her first commercial success as a teenager, under the tutelage of her then-mentor (and later husband…allegedly) R. Kelly.
Aaliyah was 22 and on the cusp of superstardom — with the release of her third album and a new film only weeks away — when she was killed in a plane crash in August 2001. She continues to be listed in Billboard’s Top 10 Most Influential R&B Artists of the past quarter century.
A platinum-selling recording artist in her own right, Zendaya will perform several of Aaliyah’s hit singles for the feature.
Aaliyah: Princess of R&B will begin production this summer. The flick joins I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story as one of two biopics based on the lives of soulful singers being produced by Lifetime this year.