Though production for the highly anticipated and already controversial Aaliyah biopic is scheduled to begin in a matter of weeks, the film's lead actress, 17-year-old Zendaya Coleman, has backed out of the project.
According to a rep for the Disney Channel actress, Coleman is "no longer involved in the project," which Lifetime is set to produce and air. This news comes less than two weeks after it was initially announced that the young triple threat would portray the Queen of the Damned actress in the Lifetime original film.
This announcement may cause a tentative delay in the film's production, since a new lead actress must first be cast. A report from the New York Daily News states that the complications stemmed from production issues surrounding the film, as well as issues in acquiring the rights to Aaliyah's music.
The "Replay" singer's submission from the film may serve as good news for Aaliyah's family and fans alike, who have vocally expressed their disapproval for the choice of casting by the television network. The late singer's family has conveyed their desire to have the entire project scrapped, leaving room for a larger production company to take the reigns on the idea.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lifetime released a statement earlier today outlining their regret in Zendaya's decision, as well as the current status of the film: "We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold," the statement reads.
(Photos from left: Frazer Harrison/BET/Getty Images, Gregory Pace/Corbis)