The Disney starlet will no longer be starring in the Lifetime film, according to the network, which announced the news via Twitter Sunday. "We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold," the Twitter handle for Lifetime PR tweeted.
Zendaya was set to play the late singer in the made-for-TV movie and was reportedly going to record four songs for it, according to Variety. At the BET Awards Sunday, the 17-year-old actress confirmed the news on the red carpet, telling the network she decided to step away from the project because it wasn't the best it could be.
"[Aaliyah] is someone I looked up to much," she said. "I feel like the project wasn't all the way there...I don't want to do anything that's not right."
After it was announced that Zendaya was set to star in the film, she received a ton of criticism from fans who felt like she wasn't right for the part. In addition to that, some of Aaliyah's family members weren't exactly supportive of the project either. Aaliyah's cousin and president of her Blackground Records, Jomo Hankerson, told the New York Daily News that they wanted a bigger release than what Lifetime was able to provide.
"We want a major studio release along the lines of 'What's Love Got to Do with It,' the Tina Turner movie," Hankerson said. "This needs A-list actors, A-list talent that can breathe life into what we think is a phenomenal story."
"It's never been about the actress. The problem that we have is that Aaliyah was an icon and she deserves an iconic tribute, not a Lifetime movie."
There's been no word just yet on when or if production for the film will resume.