Zendaya Coleman Drops Out of Aaliyah Biopic, Production on Hold

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Zendaya Coleman has dropped out of a Lifetime movie based on the life of Aaliyah.

The young actress had received a great deal of flak from critics after agreeing to star in the biopic, with many on Twitter blasting Zendaya for her lack of resemblance to the late singer.

Aaliyah died in a 2001 plane crash.

Zendaya Coleman Red Carpet Photo

"Aaliyah has always been a source of inspiration to Zendaya," the former Dancing with the Stars contestant's official account tweeted. "She was honored to portray her and pay tribute to her. If she is going to do it, she wants to do it right."

Although the precise reasons for Zendaya’s departure remain unclear, E! News says production has experienced issues obtaining the rights to Aaliyah’s songs, four of which were to be recorded for the TV movie.

"We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold," Lifetime said in its own brief statement.

Zendaya’s most recent project, the Disney Channel original movie Zapped, drew 5.7 million total viewers on Friday.

Responding to the online criticism of her selection earlier this month, Coleman said of Aaliyah:

"She's been an inspiration and influence in my whole career, her talent still shines brighter then ever, all I wanna do is honor her. Show how much she accomplished in only 22 years....she's beautiful inside and there will never be another Aaliyah, I just hope to share her beautiful story, and make her proud up in heaven."

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