Teen actress-singer Zendaya no longer playing Aaliyah in Lifetime TV film


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In this Wednesday, June 25, 2014, file photo, singer Zendaya performs at the Hollister House in Santa Monica, Calif. A representative for Zendaya confirmed Sunday, June 29, 2014, that the Disney Channel star won’t portray R&B sensation Aaliyah in a TV film currently in the works. Lifetime announced Zendaya’s participation two weeks ago. (Photo by Chris Pizzelo/Invision/AP, File)


FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, file photo, Zendaya arrives at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, in Los Angeles. A representative for Zendaya confirmed Sunday, June 29, 2014, that the Disney Channel star won’t portray R&B sensation Aaliyah in a TV film currently in the works. Lifetime announced Zendaya’s participation two weeks ago. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)


LOS ANGELES — Dust yourself off and try again Lifetime Network: Zendaya will no longer play Aaliyah in an upcoming film.

The 17-year-old Disney Channel star said Sunday that she pulled out of the project because "production-wise, (it) wasn't all the way there."

"Because it's someone that I honor and I respect so much, it has to be 128 percent, especially for all her fans, including myself," Zendaya said on her way into the BET Awards, where she's up for the Young Stars award. "I didn't feel like it was all the way there, so I didn't want to do that. And when the time comes when it's done right and it's 100 percent, by all means, I will be the first person there ready to go."

Lifetime announced Zendaya's participation two weeks ago. The announcement sparked anger from Aaliyah's family, who are not participating in the project.

The network tweeted Sunday: "We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold."

Others on social media suggested that another actress should play the late singer, who died in 2001 at age 22.

Zendaya defended winning the role in an interview with The Associated Press a day after the announcement. The 17-year-old said she wanted to show young people what Aaliyah was able to do.

"Of course it was hard" to pull out of the film, Zendaya said, "but again, I just think she deserves the world. She deserves something really, really incredible and so I would rather wait for that."

The biopic was scheduled to film this summer.


AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this report.

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