The cast of the film is shaping up.
Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic is moving full-speed ahead after the announcement of the lead actress. Despite lack of support from the family, the film will be made without any delays. According to The Hollywood Reporter, two more roles in the film have been cast – and they’re pretty big ones too.
Lifetime has followed its established practice of hiring relative unknowns and chosen Chattrisse Dolabaille and Izaak Smith for the roles of Aaliyah’s collaborators Missy Elliott and Timbaland. The rappers/producers were instrumental in helping Aaliyah’s career. They worked closely with the singer on her 1996 album One in a Million and she had practically become their protégé by the time her self-titled sophomore album was released in 2001. Aaliyah tragically and infamously died in a plane crash later that same year.
Dolabaille is a complete newcomer, her only known acting credit being in a short film from 2013. Smith, however, has some higher profile acting work on his resume, including parts in Mirror Mirror, Camp Rock 2 and a minor role in 2011’s Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.
Earlier this month, the title role went to Alexandra Shipp. The part of Aaliyah was recast, after the original actress – former Disney star Zendaya Coleman left the production amid some controversy. Her casting was met with derision by some Aaliyah fans, while the late singer’s family distanced themselves from the production entirely, believing it to be inaccurate and not respectful to Aaliyah’s memory.
Watch an interview with Izaak Smith below, courtesy of the Rise YouTube channel.