The Aaliyah biopic has been in headlines in recent months for various reasons: the family did not approve of the movie, music/images rights, and Zendaya leaving the movie to name a few, but it looks like the ball is finally rolling for this made-for-TV movie. Drama aside, HuffPost reported on Saturday, Aug. 9, that more characters for the movie have been cast, specifically Aaliyah’s two music mentors, and there is a working title -- if this doesn’t say progress, I don’t know what does.
The Wrap shared that Chattrisse Dolabaille and Izaak Smith will be joining the Nickelodeon star playing Aaliyah, Alexandra Shipp, as the producer-rappers Missy Elliott and Timbaland. The two are said to have been close friends of Aaliyah and helped her with her second album, "One In A Million." Canadian writer and artist Dolabaille is a newbie to Hollywood although she has accomplished many projects of her own including participating in a production of High School Musical 2 at the Toronto Center for the Arts. Smith has been on “So You Think You Can Dance Canada”, a dancer on “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” and “Mirror Mirror” and played Cal Rice on “Tower Prep”nand Danny on “Totally Amp’d” both Canadian series.
Other characters announced include: her parents, Diane and Michael Haughton, portrayed by Rachael Crawford and Sterling Jarvis; her uncle/president of her label, Barry Hankerson, portrayed by Lyriq Bent; co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records who was also dating Aaliyah at the time of her passing, Damon Dash will be portrayed by Anthony Grant; and her brother will be portrayed by A.J. Saudin, as an older Rashad, and Jesse Sukunda, as a younger Rashad.
And now what you have all been waiting on, the title. The working title for the film is, "Aaliyah: Princess of R&B." The biopic, produced by Aaliyah Productions, Inc with executive-producers Wendy Williams, Howard Braunstein and Debra Martin Chase, is based on the book, “Aaliyah: More Than a Woman” by Christopher Farley. The film will follow the late star’s life starting with her first performance on "Star Search" through to her death in 2001. Aaliyah was 22 years old when she died in a plane crash.
The movie is to be filmed this summer for a fall release. Get ready, as family and fans sound off on the new cast.