Sources tell Page Six that the film — which will reportedly depict the late singer’s life from age 10 to her untimely death at 22 from a plane crash — will detail her controversial relationship with her mentor/ R&B veteran R. Kelly. The two were reportedly married when she was 15 and he was 27.
In its December 1994/January 1995 Superfreak cover story, VIBE magazine uncovered the marriage certificate that falsely listed Aaliyah as 18. “If I got tired we’d go watch a movie, go eat or whatever, and then come back and work,” she told the mag about Kellz in 1994. “Me and him we’re really, we’re rather close.” The wedding was later annulled by her parents.
Executive producer Debra Martin Chase told Page Six, “Aaliyah’s personal and professional relationship with R. Kelly will be explored with care in the film as we set out to depict her life with the utmost respect. Above all else, it’s our hope to inspire an entirely new generation with her music and larger-than-life talent.”
Singer/ actress/ model Zendaya has been tapped to play the lead role, causing only a fraction of the backlash for the film. The biopic has come under fire from the singer’s family, who said in a statement:
“Aaliyah was more than a singer, she was – and is still – an American music icon whose legacy continues to live on and influence today’s music culture, just as Ray Charles, Notorious B.I.G., Selena and Johnny Cash. Considering the magnitude of her fans’ affection alone, she deserves to have a tribute much more grand than a television network debut that won’t even consider the perspectives of those who were closest to Aaliyah.”