Zendaya Pulls Out Of Lifetime's Aaliyah Biopic

    Production of the television movie has been put on hold.

    Zendaya Coleman will not play Aaliyah in a Lifetime television movie.

    Shortly after, Aaliyah's uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson vowed to stop production of the film, saying that a TV movie would be "too small" a tribute.

    On Twitter, Zendaya said she was honored by the opportunity to play Aaliyah, but wanted to "do it right."

    "Aaliyah has always been a source of 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."

    Lifetime confirmed Zendaya's departure, and paused production of the movie.

    We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.

    Before pulling out, Zendaya had responded to critics who felt she shouldn't play a black character.

    On Sunday, June 29, Zendaya detailed her reasons for pulling out of the biopic with MTV. “I just felt the project wasn’t 100 percent there," she said. "I feel [that] production wise everything just felt a little rushed. And I think because she’s someone I admire and I love so much, it can’t be done halfway, or not to the standards I think it should be done at, so I just decided not to do it."

    She said she'd be open to playing Aaliyah in the future, though: “By all means, when the right project comes along and it’s done the right way I’ll be the first person ready to play Aaliyah, but this wasn’t the right one for me. I’ve been into Aaliyah since I was little, so there wasn’t too much getting into character. I always pretend I’m her anyway.”