*Disney Channel star Zendaya will portray Aaliyah in a Lifetime Original Movie about the life of the actress and R&B star who, at the height of her fame, died tragically in a plane crash.
The film, with the working title “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B,” is based on the bestseller Aaliyah: More Than a Woman by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher Farley. Production begins this summer for a Fall premiere.
Zendaya, who competed on “Dancing With the Stars” and ironically dressed as Aaliyah for Halloween last year, will record four of Aaliyah’s songs for the film, including many of her hit singles.
Before Beyonce and before Rihanna, self-proclaimed “street but sweet” Aaliyah was poised to become a global icon with top-selling albums, a hot movie career and an adoring fan base. But behind the spotlight, Brooklyn-born, Detroit-raised Aaliyah Dana Haughton struggled to succeed in a tough business while staying grounded in the midst of her growing celebrity. The film follows the beautiful and talented performer’s inspirational journey, from her debut on Star Search at the age of ten to the challenges she faced during her rise to become the Princess of R&B. On August 25, 2001, at the height of her popularity, her life was tragically cut short when a plane carrying the singer and some of her video crew crashed after takeoff from a Bahamian runway. Although just 22-years-old at the time of her death, Aaliyah continues to lead a legacy as Billboard’s tenth most famous R&B artist of the past 25 years and one of the recording industry’s most successful artists in history.
Multi-talented actress and Hollywood Records artist Zendaya recently released her self-titled 2013 debut full-length album on which she delivers soulful pop with an urban edge. Her first single from the album, “Replay,” was certified platinum for selling 1,000,000 copies in the U.S. this January, and now has more than 54 million views on YouTube. Zendaya will star in the upcoming Disney Channel Original Series K.C. Undercover and the Disney Channel Original Movie, Zapped, which premieres this summer. She starred as Raquel “Rocky” Blue on the hit Disney Channel series Shake It Up!, as well as Shake It Up: Made In Japan, the record breaking song and dance–filled special that featured her single and video “Fashion is My Kryptonite.” Zendaya was also the break out star and runner-up on Season 16 of Dancing with the Stars.
“Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” will be produced by Aaliyah Productions, Inc. Howard Braunstein (The Informant!) and Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries, Sparkle) will serve as executive producers. Bradley Walsh (Turn the Beat Around) will direct from a script written by Michael Elliot (Brown Sugar).