Should the Controversial Aaliyah Biopic Still Be Made Post-Zendaya?

Lifetime’s upcoming Aaliyah biopic has been put on hold after Zendaya Coleman, Disney actress and former Dancing With the Stars contestant, reportedly officially dropped out of the lead role. The cable channel confirmed the 17-year-old star’s departure from the project, tentatively entitled Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, on Sunday, just a couple of weeks after initially announcing her casting earlier this month.

“We are sad  Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold,” the network’s PR team wrote on its Twitter feed this past weekend. Meanwhile, a rep for Coleman confirmed the decision to E! News, stating, “Zendaya is no longer involved in the project.” The movie was initially set to start filming this summer and slated to air sometime in the fall. But according to E!, the film, based primarily off Christopher Farley’s best selling biography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman, has already run into multiple production problems, including issues with obtaining the rights to Aaliyah’s music.

Coleman’s exit doesn’t bode well for the film, which is still in early stages but has already stirred up its fair share of controversy. The young actress was subject to some public backlash after the initial announcement of her casting. Fans reportedly thought she was “too light-skinned” to play the late R&B star.

At the time, Coleman defended herself against the critics by telling TMZ, “A lot of people say I’m not black enough. Half black is just enough. It doesn’t matter what color you are, it’s about how you portray the character.”