A new Aaliyah has been chosen.
Lifetime confirms to E! News that Nickelodeon actress Alexandra Shipp will portray the late R&B sensation for their network's biopic project after Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman stepped down from the role. The casting was first announced by talk show host Wendy Williams, who is also executive producing the TV movie.
"I'm excited to exec produce the Aaliyah @ @DebraMChase. Prod starts later this month and @AlexShipppp will play Aaliyah," she tweeted. However, Shipp hinted at something big coming earlier this month. "It's like God keeps making life better, I swear thank you universe!!! ," Alexandra tweeted on July 10.movie w/
The project, titled Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, will resume filming this summer with a fall premiere date planned. The script for the biopic was based on a book, Aaliyah: More Than a Woman, by Christopher Farley, following Aaliyah's journey from her debut on Star Search to her rise to her fame and, finally, her tragic passing.
The 23-year-old, curly-haired actress has been featured on Nickelodeon's House of Anubis as well as episodes of Switched at Birth, Awkward and Ray Donovan.
Lifetime first announced that Zendaya was tapped for the role in mid-June, however just a few short weeks later, Coleman exited the role. The network followed with a statement on Twitter that read, "We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold."
As for why Zendaya changed her mind? While many assumed it was due to the amount of backlash revolving around her casting, a source told E! News, "Aaliyah has always been an inspiration to Zendaya. She was honored to portray her and pay tribute to her. If she is going to do it, she wants to do it right."
Are you excited to see Alexandra Shipp take on Aaliyah? Sound off in the comments below!