Producers Throw Young Actress Under The Bus

thrown under bus 2SOLVED!

[Blind Gossip] A young actress recently departed an upcoming production. Despite the public statements, her departure was not voluntary. Want to know what really happened?

The casting for this upcoming movie was announced. However, the public complained about the producer’s choice for the lead role because of “her look.”

The producers buckled under the backlash. They publicly continued to support their choice… but quickly started looking for a replacement. All of their secondary choices were already booked, so they went to a performance showcase. They saw a young, unknown actress there who had the basic skills and, more importantly, “looked the part.” They pulled her aside and told her that they were offering her the star-making role of a lifetime… but that she only had fifteen minutes to decide! Of course, The Replacement jumped at the chance.

As soon as the Replacement agreed, the producers called in the Original Actress for a meeting and told her that she was being fired. She was shocked and disappointed and cried. They told her that if she left quietly, they would pretend that it was her decision and that the movie was on hold. However, if she created a fuss and did not leave quietly, they were going to announce that they were firing her and re-casting the role. She agreed to leave quietly.

They found The Replacement on Saturday. On Sunday, The Original Actress publicly announced that she was pulling out of the film because of unspecified “production issues.” The producers followed up saying that they were “sad” that The Original Actress had decided to leave, and that the entire project was now on hold.

Ha! They were all lying! The Original Actress was fired, there were no production issues, the project is not on hold, they have already hired The Replacement, production is back on schedule, a complete unknown is going to become a star… and it only took screwing over one young actress to make it all happen! Look for an announcement of the re-casting early next week, with the producers pretending that their discovery of The Replacement was a happy accident.


Original Actress:

The Replacement (to be announced next week):

Zendaya ColemanSOLVED!

Movie/Role: Aaliyah: Princess of R&B

Original Actress: Zendaya Coleman

The Replacement (just announced today): Alexandra Shipp

Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic is back on! What a shock! Not. We told you that they were ready to go into production and that the firing of Zendaya Coleman was not about to stop them.

This story took some twists and turns in the past couple of weeks since we ran the original blind item, so we’ll catch you up on the basics.

Zendaya Coleman was replaced in the starring role because producers buckled under public pressure to replace her. What was the big uproar? That she was too light to play Aaliya! Zendaya Coleman is biracial (black and white) and people did not like the fact that she is lighter than Aaliya. So the producers fired her in the way we described in the blind.

After she was fired… there was another backlash about possible raacism involved in firing Zendaya because of her skin color.

The producers scrambled to find another girl. They did go to the performance showcase as we described and picked a darker-skinned girl. However, while she looked like Aaliyah, she just didn’t work out. Too green. Finally, they brought actress Alexandra Shipp aboard.

Alexandra Shipp is described in the article below as a “Nickelodeon star.” Well, she did appear on a Nickelodeon show called House of Anubis last year, and she did appear in one episode of Victorious, but she doesn’t even rank among the top 20,000 actors on IMDB, so that might be a bit of a stretch.

Here’s the most ironic part: After all that strum und drang of hiring and firing and tears and spinning and hiring and firing (whew!), they needed to get into production so badly that they wound up hiring…  another light-skinned girl!

From Time:

Aaliyah Biopic Gets New Star

Nickelodeon star Alexandra Shipp is set to play the R&B legend Aaliyah in an upcoming Lifetime biopic scheduled to premier this fall, according to talk show host Wendy Williams, who is an executive producer on the project. Shipp takes on the role after Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman opted out in June.

Williams tweeted news of the the cast change on Friday:

wendy williams tweet

The film, Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, will portray the life of the beloved singer who’s [sic] music topped the pop charts from 1994 until her untimely death in a 2001 plane crash at 22. The TV movie will be based on the biography, Aaliyah: More Than a Woman, by former TIME editor Christopher John Farley.

The singer died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22 after filming a music video in the Bahamas. Eight others died in the accident.

You know that producer Wendy Williams is going to find some neat way to spin this. We just feel bad for Zendaya. That poor girl got thrown under the bus. “Opted out”? Nope. Screwed over.

Alexandra Shipp is very light-skinned (see pic below). Like Zendaya, she is biracial (black and white). Do you think they’ll try to make her look more “black” for the film?

Congratulations to everyone who got this one right, starting with Twistedme!

alexandra shipp

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  1. twistedme says

    Movie/Role: That LifeTime Aaliyah movie

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    The Replacement (to be announced next week): she’s unknown so we will see it next week. 😀

    • Mirna says

      Movie/Role: The Aaliyah biopic “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number”

      Original Actress: Zendaya Coleman

      The Replacement (to be announced next week): Tessa Thompson, the actress from “Veronica Mars”, “For Colored Girls” and the dance movie “Make it happen”

      *Zendaya Coleman just “dropped” out of the Aaliyah Movie
      *The movie will air on LifeTime
      *The blind item says “Make it happen”, that’s the name of the dance movie Tessa starred in
      *She has the basic skills: Tessa can act and can dance, she has been for years but she’s still very much unknown
      * The producers caught a performance showcase of the replacement: Tessa also sings with the band “Caught A Ghost”
      * “Happy accident” – maybe this is a stretch but Tessa used this expression in her interview in May 2014 about the movie she’s promoting right now “Dear White People”
      * Her looks: she’s looks just like Aaliyah.

      • cafe_au_lait says

        I agree with the first two but Tessa T doesn’t look just like Aaliayah in my opinion, I would be surprised if it turns out to be her. One never knows though. I hope you had a great 4th! =)

      • Mia444 says

        Good guesswork and it very well might be Tessa in the role, but I don’t think she looks a thing like Aaliyah.

      • Beatrixie says

        Wanted to toss this into your theory about Tessa Thompson: The picture & title of the post, relating to a bus. Tessa starred as Wallace’s girlfriend Jackie in the 2nd season of Veronica Mars, which dealt primary with a bus crash that killed Veronica’s classmates.

      • iluvgossip says

        Yaya actually will be playing Whitney Houston in another Lifetime biopic later this year, called; I Will Always Love You: The Whitney Houston Story.

      • Okayeah says

        I hope so – at least she can act. Zendaya would have been fabulous too, but clearly these producers are weak and this production is not likely to be very good. She deserves so much better anyway.

  2. creeping_thistle says

    Zendaya “pulled out” of the Aaliyah biopic (announced last Sunday), but if it’s her, I can’t understand what’s the problem with her “looks”….

  3. cristinastarb says

    It’s Zendaya, who just dropped out of the Aaliyah biopic. Probably fans weren’t happy because she’s not black.

      • wendy hood says

        Apparently they need to find someone at least 75% black who is a teeny bit darker than Zendaya, because that’s all Aaliyah was, as far as skin color goes. Public outcry over productions that are entertainment – people get very fired up about things meant to “enter” and “obtain” you.

    • wendy hood says

      Its a very odd double standard – Zendaya looks the part and could likely portray her properly, but because Aaliyah was “black” (and that is in quotes because its almost impossible to find someone without mixed race blood, even if its 1% some other race), the actress should be “black” too? What about all the crying over you shouldn’t have to be straight to play a straight role, or that this that and this other race don’t get enough tv time? I mean, how far are people taking this – does the actress HAVE to have come from the same region of the world to play her on a GD TV movie? Are they taking DNA samples? Its so politically correct its incorrect.

      Poor Zendaya, she always comes across very motivated.

      • austinmocean says

        No, its that Hollywood always tries to lighten up “black” people. Like, they aren’t okay with actual BLACK people being on the screen. For example, they act like Halle Berry is black. yes, she is, but she’s half black. So what’s happening is that black people are being told, “Oh, if you’re as light as Halle Berry, or Maya Rudolph, you’re cool. But if you’re actually BLACK (like, say, Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis, etc) then you can’t be a major film star, you aren’t beautiful, etc. I know that Lupita and Viola are known, and they’ve been in big films, etc. But is Lupita getting any offers the way she SHOULD be, based on her talent and the kind of star power she’s gained just through awards season? Is she being offered the kind of roles she WOULD be if she had been a lighter skin color?

        That’s all. Not that its about being politically correct, but hollywood always wants to act like “Oh, Halle Berry, Maya Rudolph, Beyonce, they’re as black as it gets” and then right off actual dark-skinned people.

        yes, bummer for Zendaya, I do think she has a lot of promise and potential, but she’ll be fine. No worries.

      • MiCorazoncito says

        yeah. you’re right, wendy hood. Race definitely shouldn’t be a factor. Chris brown is 1/16th white… I think he’d be great as Elvis.

      • wendy hood says

        And what, exactly, is the point of havings ones race “verified” by Hollywood? Entertainment is a dark, dirty business basically concerned with controlling the minds of the masses.

    • Heilige Bimbam says

      Zendaya looks like an eight year old. Aaliyah already at thirteen looked like a mature woman and quite sensual. Yaya DaCosta looks more the part.

  4. iluvgossip says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah Biopic

    Original Actress: Zendaya Coleman- Lots of criticism about her being too young and too light-skinned to play the role of Aaliyah

    Replacement: Not sure, but I heard Rihanna of all people- She is also very light -skinned, and also too old IMO …plus Riri can’t really sing!!!!…no offense to her fans…as I myself kinda like the crazy beeeech, cuz I’m from one of the Caribbean Islands

    With all the drama already …bad sign…maybe they need to let Aaliyah just rest in peace.

    • CoCoJoe says

      The criticism may have been about Zendaya’s age & colour, but I looked up Aaliyah’s pics and she was not particularly dark either. Also, Zendaya is 17. Aaliyah was 12 when she got signed, 15 when her alleged marriage to R. Kelly was rumoured to have happened and 19 when she was having her biggest recording success. She was only 21 when she died. I don’t think Zendaya’s age should be a big issue unless the film is explicit. Even if is is, she’ll be 18 before the end of the summer.

      • iluvgossip says

        I agree CoCo, Aaliyah is not that dark. I really don’t understand all the uproar, particularly about the color of the skin…omg, this is 2014, and the age situation is just that…a situation, very confusing for me.

      • wendy hood says

        Exactly. Aaliyah wasn’t that much darker than Zendaya, Zendaya is close to her in age (in Hollywood terms, anyway) and Aaliyah had a Hollywood role or two when she was alive, so…what is the uproar? People don’t have an answer more than she needs to be “black” or “blacker”. This is a post-racial world?

  5. tiph_88 says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah: Princess of R&B/ Aaliyah
    Original Actress: Zendaya
    The replacement : No idea!
    First blind item for me

    • stanton says

      R/B Princess HELL NO. Maybe a “Princess in waiting” but most people never herd of her at the time of her death. Also whoever the pilot of that plane was an idiot. He should checked the plane before he took off.

      • mrodnyc says

        uhh, ANYONE who listened to R&B or rap back then, before twitter and facebook existed (which is obviously what you think makes stars) knew who Aaliyah was, so what are you even talking about?

        You are either really young or really oblivious. or both.

  6. Baffledfan111 says

    It’s pretty sad really. I really think Zendaya could have done an amazing job playing Aaliyah. The fact that the producers cut her because of backlash gives me a good reason not to watch the movie.

    Aaliyah role
    Zendaya Young actress
    Some darker skinned unknown

  7. countmeindaisy says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    Replacement: No clue.

    As soon as Zendaya was cast as Aaliyah in the upcoming Lifetime biopic, people went nuts because she was too “light skinned” for the role. Almost immediately, Zendaya pulled out.

  8. auntmidgee says

    Zendaya for the Original. I guess we’ll find out about the replacement. Hollywood people are f$ckers. I feel badly for Z.

  9. Serena van der Woodsen says

    I’m suprirsed I got this! Google is my friend: actress + production issues + sad = Zendaya Coleman for the Aaliyah biopic

  10. Nini says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah Biopic

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    The Replacement (to be announced next week): ??

    • Nini says

      “We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.”

  11. Jeffurry says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    The Replacement (to be announced next week): Nonameah

  12. melody1980 says

    Well, I know that the actress is Zendaya Coleman for the Aliyah movie that Lifetime announced. Don’t know who Zendaya’s replacement is. After Lifetime announced that Zendaya had been picked to play Aliyah there was A LOT of backlash from the public b/c Zendaya isn’t dark enough (at least that’s what I read on various online forums). Then all of a sudden Zendaya drops out of the movie and the reports are “production issues” having to do with obtaining the rights to Aliyah’s music (seems like you’d take care of that before announcing the movie but whatever). Sunday’s “people” announced that she dropped out earlier this week.

    PS. I love this site! This is my first post! Happy Independence Day, everyone!

  13. Minderella says

    Zendaya pulled out of the Aaliyah film. Poor girl. :( She didn’t look the part, though.

  14. cataroo22 says

    Zendaya… the Aaliyah biopic. Backlash from Asliyah’s family about whom they chose because they weren’t included or approached about the project, as well as fan backlash due to her “look”….too light skinned and too young. The producers were jerks for how they handled firing her :(

  15. VoiceofReason says

    Possibly Zendaya getting booted from the Aaliyah biopic? Lifetime tweeted they were sad she left and the project was on hold have no idea who the replacement is as it’s an unknown lol or is this about a bigger movie?

  16. Leaf says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah Movie

    Original Actress: Zendaya Coleman

    I don’t understand why’d they do this to her, the movie is gonna fail no matter what. It’s gonna do even worse now that they don’t have an actress with an already made fan base. Hope Zendaya gets better than this trash on her next project.

  17. avaday says


    Movie/Role: Aaliyah’s biopic

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    The Replacement (to be announced next week): I guess we’ll now next week

  18. ameliaj says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah

    Original Actress: Zendaya Coleman

    The Replacement: no idea

  19. CoCoJoe says

    That Aaliyah movie.

    This is all so stupid. Why were people so upset that this actress was cast to play a deceased star? And the family saying that she shouldn’t be the subject of a TV movie, because she was too big of a star for tv? Seriously, who? She was a star briefly; she wasn’t even alive long enough to have an impact outside her generation. Besides, if the investors aren’t willing to fund a big time movie then obviously they don’t see the potential.

    • batgirl6 says

      Just because you didn’t know who Aaliyah was or listened to her music doesn’t mean she never made an impact in the lives of the people and musicians who knew and loved her. She was in the music business since the age of 15 and was very well-known. Timbaland, Missy elliot and DMX, just to name a few, all adored her. Her first album sold three million copies in the United States and was certified double platinum. Her second album sold 3.7 million copies in the United States and over eight million copies worldwide. Her song “Try Again” for the movie Romeo Must Die topped the Billboard Hot 100 solely on airplay, making Aaliyah the first artist in Billboard history to achieve this feat.

  20. phoenixfire says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah: Princess of R&B

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    The Replacement (to be announced next week): no idea

  21. myndeeohno says

    Movie/Role: The Aalyiha, not sure how it’s spelled, Lifetime Bio pic
    Original Actress: Zendya
    Replacement: No idea.

    I thought it was weird she was excited and ready to go then some criticism came out and she “backed out” because she didn’t feel like it was ready and didn’t want to offend the family. And she said something like she wanted to give 120% but wouldn’t do the movie unless it was 100%

  22. emily418 says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah Bio/Aaliyah
    Original: Zendaya
    Replacement: Lolita Price

    • breanna_monique says

      Also, if they don’t get the rights to Aaliyah’s music, how are they going ahead with the production? I honestly think if they do a screwover with Aaliyah’s music, her family should sue!

  23. Perfida Limpin says

    Movie/Role: The Brown Bunny Gets Vitiligo & Becomes The Energizer Bunny
    Original Actress: Chloe Sevigny
    Replacement: Drew Droege

  24. ivyleaguer says

    Zoe Saldana in the Nina Simone bio pic because I am one of he ones who complained that she didn’t have the look.

  25. MLeah53 says


    Total and utter discriminatory bullshit!! Next it’ll be mandatory DNA cheek swabs.

  26. hideyourfires says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah Biopic
    Original Actress: Zendaya Coleman
    Replacement: No idea. Apparently someone who looks like Aaliyah.

    How shady of the filmmakers. :/

  27. AnguaDelphine says

    This would be Zendaya leaving the Aaliyah biopic. Obviously I have no clue who the replacement is. The “basic skills” needed would be singing, I guess, acting and looking like Aaliyah.

  28. Scoop08 says

    Movie Role: Aaliyah Biopic

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    The Replacement: No idea…

  29. definitely says

    Zen-Dannon Yogurt…however you spell that Disney chick’s name.

    I was surprised to hear she was backing out of her “J-Lo/Selenas” moment with the Aaliyah movie, now we know why.

    No clue on the new girl.

  30. catiinha says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    The Replacement (to be announced next week):

  31. yewneek says

    Aw this is sad.
    Movie/Role: Aaliyah: R&B Princess/Aaliyah
    Original Actress: Zendaya
    The Replacement: I don’t know

    Because she doesn’t look like Aaliyah? I think she could pull it off.

  32. ravenglass says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah Biopic

    Original Actress: Zendaya Coleman

    Replacement: Keshia Chante

  33. carlywarly says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah Biopic

    Original Actress: Zendaya Coleman

    The Replacement (to be announced next week): no clue

  34. miumiu says

    Movie/Role: Lifetime Aaliyah

    Original Actress: Zendaya Coleman

    The Replacement (to be announced next week): no idea

  35. aggiefoo says

    Movie- Aliyah movie & the actress from Disney that was supposed to play her

  36. bigjinla says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah
    Original Actress: Zendaya Coleman
    The Replacement: no idea

  37. ohmyobrien says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah
    Original Actress: Zendaya Coleman
    Replacement: (next week)

  38. JamesAA says

    Movie Role: Aaliyah: Princess of R&B / Aaliyah
    Original Actress: Zedanya
    The replacement: no idea

  39. Mike says

    The movie is the upcoming Aaliyah film and the actress who pulled out is Zendaya.

  40. aishadisposable says

    Movie: The Aaliyah movie
    Original Actress: Zendaya
    The Replacement: ????

  41. aykaysee says

    Aaliyah film


    no clue on replacement, I don’t see any mention of someone new.

    The only other possibility I can think of is

    Rooney Mara in the Pan film, but I don’t see any news of her leaving that production

  42. cyberbrownie says

    Movie: Aaliyah movie

    Original actress: zendaya

    The replacement;?? not sure

  43. Okayeah says

    Poor Zendaya. I’m not convinced this Aaliyah (sp?) movie is necessarily a star-making vehicle, however. She’s destined for better. No clue on the Replacement.

  44. KT78 says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah: Princess of R&B

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    No idea who the replacement will be

  45. tbhstylinson says

    Movie/Role: The Aaliyah Movie for Lifetime
    Original Actress: Zendaya
    The Replacement: I have no idea, haha.

    • missmissy says

      Besides the fact that this is shallow (if you have seen her perform you can see the similarities – regardless of skin color), Zendaya is better off for it. She can do better than a Lifetime movie.

  46. BoA says

    Movie/Role: Aliyah

    Original Actress:Zendaya Coleman

    The Replacement (to be announced next week): no idea

    clues being: role of a lifetime. Lifetime is the one behind the biopic

  47. TeacherKat says

    Because it just happened and the clue “movie of a lifetime” I’m going with the Lifetime biopic about Aaliyah with Zendaya (sp?) being the one fired. No clue who is replacing her. That sucks though to be fired just because of looks.

  48. emanresu says

    movie: Aaliyah
    original actress: Zendaya
    Replacement: not sure
    hint: role of a Lifetime

  49. ArrestedDevelopment says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    The Replacement (to be announced next week): No clue. To be honest, Zendaya is pretty much an unknown to me, so I can’t imagine someone less known who isn’t just a random person off the streets.

  50. Juliana says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    The Replacement (to be announced next week): no idea

  51. susanmarie79 says

    the aliyaah movie, can’t remember the young girls name but apparently she was too white

  52. periquito says

    Movie/Role: Aaliyah Lifetime movie.

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    Replacement: Mrs. X.

  53. AngelLight says

    Movie/Role: Lifetime Aaliyah Biopic

    Original Actress: Zendaya

    The Replacement (to be announced next week): Seriously no idea about this

  54. chaseboogie says

    The movie: Aaliyah

    Original Actress: Zenyana or Zentaya

    The replacement: Gotta wait and see.