Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic has a new star in Alexandra Shipp, who has taken on the role following Zendaya Coleman’s departure from the project.

Alexandra Shipp Starring In Aaliyah Biopic

Talk show host Wendy Williams, who is executive producing the made-for-TV movie, announced the casting news on Twitter Friday. “I'm excited to exec produce the Aaliyah @lifetimetv movie w/ @DebraMChase,” she wrote. "Prod starts later this month and @AlexShipppp will play Aaliyah.”

Shipp is best known for playing KT Rush in Nickelodeon’s House of Anubis. She’s also appeared in ABC Family’s Switched at Birth and Showtime’s Ray Donovan.

Before Shipp stepped into the titular role, Disney star Zendaya Coleman was tapped to play the R&B singer that tragically died in a plane crash at the age of 22. However, Coleman ultimately decided to walk away from the project, implying that she felt that the movie was not going to properly honor Aaliyah.

“She's been an inspiration and influence in my whole career, her talent still shines brighter (than) ever,” Coleman tweeted last month. “All I wanna do is honor her.”

Coleman offered an in-depth explanation for walking away from the Aaliyah biopic in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “After actually starting the project, I feel like there were certain things that were missing and things that weren’t 100 percent taken care of,” Coleman explained. “I feel like if I’m going to portray one of my idols … it has to be done right,” she added. “It just wasn’t a good choice for me.”


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