The ”Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” Lifetime biopic hasn’t been the easiest movie to make. First, Aaliyah’s family was completely against the film and since have decided to pursue their own project. Pop star Zendaya was then cast to play late and great “Baby Girl” but met criticism due to her race and ability to play the part. She backed out of the film claiming that she wasn’t comfortable being a part of a project that Aaliyah’s family seemed so strongly against. Lifetime ultimately ended up casting Alexandra Shipp for the lead role and Wendy Williams jumped on board to produce.
Well, Lifetime is making progress and recently announced that actors have just been chosen to play Missy Elliot and Timbaland. The Wrap reports newcomers Chattrisse Dolabaille and Izaak Smith have been cast to play Aaliyah’s most important musical mentors. Dolabaille is a Canadian singer/actress while Smith was a contender on “So You Think You Can Dance: Canada”. He’s also appeared on “Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” and “Mirror, Mirror” as a dancer.
In other cast news, Rachael Crawford and Sterling Jarvis have been cast as Aaliyah’s parents Diane and Michael Haughton; Lyriq Bent as her uncle and president of her label, Barry Hankerson; Anthony Grant as Damon Dash; and A.J. Saudin and Jesse Sukunda will play the older and younger version of Aaliyah’s brother Rashad.
“Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” is based on the bestselling book “Aaliyah: More Than a Woman” by former Time music editor Christopher Farley.
I’m all for bringing some diversity to Hollywood and giving a new generation of actors and actresses a shot at the spotlight, but I don’t know if it’s in this movie’s best interest or if it’s the best honor to Aaliyah’s memory to create a whole cast of unknowns and newcomers. Let me be honest, I zoned out after Zendaya left. I have some hope because Wendy Williams is involved, but I’m skeptical of how this is all going to work out.
Check out some footage of Izaak Smith as well as Chattrisse’s video resume below. Seems like a sweet girl, but I am not getting the “Missy” likeness at all: