Zendaya to play Aaliyah in Toronto-shot biopic

TORONTO — Producers announced Monday that Zendaya has been chosen to portray Aaliyah in a TV movie about the late singer’s life.

The 17-year-old star of Disney Channel series Shake It Up! released an album last year and was a runner-up on season 16 of Dancing With the Stars.

Zendaya will record several Aaliyah songs for the project.

“She’s been an inspiration and influence in my whole career,” Zendaya tweeted Monday. “Her talent still shines brighter then ever, all I wanna do is honour her. Show how much she accomplished in only 22 years.

“She’s beautiful inside and there will never be another Aaliyah, I just hope to share her beautiful story, and make her proud up in heaven.”

Among those who reportedly auditioned for the coveted role are Bria Murphy, Tristan Mays and Canadian singer Keshia Chanté.

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As first reported by Global News on June 9, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B will be filmed in Toronto in July.

The biopic is due to air this fall on Lifetime.

The family of Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Haughton, has objected to production of a biopic for several years.

Aaliyah was 22 when she and eight other people were killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas after filming a music video. The singer released three albums; collaborated with artists like Timbaland, Missy Elliott and R. Kelly; and starred in the 2000 film Romeo Must Die.