Lifetime has has greenlit production on an Aaliyah biopic tentatively titled "Aaliyah: Princess of R&B."
Following rumors of a forthcoming VH1 biopic, Lifetime released details about the upcoming project, along with some casting and production details, Monday.
"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," reports Lifetime.
Slating the project for a premiere this Fall (2014), Lifetime and Aaliyah Productions, Inc have enlisted Debra Martin Chase (Sparkle, The Princess Diaries, Cinderella) and Howard Braunstein (The Informant) to executive produce. Bradley Walsh (Turn the Beat Around) will direct from a script written by Michael Elliot (Brown Sugar).
While it's unclear who will be cast in other roles, the leading role has gone to Zendaya Coleman (Zapped, Dancing With The Stars, Shake It Up!), who will portray Aaliyah.
"Zendaya will record four of Aaliyah’s songs for the film, including many of her hit singles," reports Lifetime.
Based on the bestseller Aaliyah: More Than a Woman by former Time Magazine music editor Christopher Farley, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B (working title), will be filmed this summer and premiere in the Fall.