“It Was Inappropriate”: Zendaya Coleman Talks Bowing Out Of Aaliyah Biopic

December 2, 2015  |  

There was plenty of drama surrounding Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic—including that the film’s original star, Zendaya Coleman, dropped out just before filming began. In a recent interview with Complex, the young actress explained her decision to forfeit the role, and it really seemed to come down to the fact that producers were running a rather janky operation.

“I just didn’t like the way things were going down. There were a lot of things that came to my attention that I didn’t know about, about the family and production value,” Coleman shared. “You just assume that things are taken care of when you step onto a project. But when you realize that things are just falling apart, you’re like, ‘This is not what I signed up for, this is not what I thought it was. This is not what I think is worthy of her movie.’”

The outspoken 19-year-old, who was later replaced by Alexandra Shipp, went on to say that Aaliyah’s family’s lack of involvement in the production process started to weigh heavily on her, which is ultimately why she chose to withdraw.

“It really ate me up inside. A lot of people thought that I knew that the family wasn’t involved, and I didn’t. I just auditioned like anyone else and got the job.”

Like many of us, the former Disney darling felt that the project was being rushed, which compromised the quality.

“Yeah, basically. I just thought that it was being rushed. I thought that there was nobody who really knew her on that project at all—literally no one. I can only know so much about someone from watching their interviews. I don’t know what she was like in her kitchen talking to her mom. That would be rude of me to try to figure that out without knowing.”

She continued:

“If God forbid something were to happen to me, I wouldn’t want my parents to have to deal with that. I just felt that it was inappropriate, so I didn’t want to do it.”

Well, considering how that film turned out, it’s obvious that she made the right call.

Check out Zendaya’s full interview here.

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