Alexandra Shipp replaces Disney Channel actress Zendaya Coleman
Talk show host Wendy Williams and producer Debra Martin Chase have also joined the production. Williams revealed on Twitter that she will serve as Executive Producer on the film, which has been given a working title Aaliyah: Princess of R&B.
The 23-year-old Shipp has played minor parts in TV shows Switched at Birth, Victorius and Awkward, but is best known for her role in Nickelodeon series House of Anubis.
The film, however, has been met with resistance from the family of Aaliyah, who have hired a lawyer with the intention of getting the production blocked. Speaking last month, the singer’s uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson affirmed that the family had not been contacted about the film and stated plans to prevent attempts to use any of his niece’s music.
Aaliyah Dana Haughton died in a plane crash in August 2001, aged 22. Having released her debut album ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number’ in 1994, she went on to enjoy a string of hits including ‘Back & Forth’, ‘One in a Million’ and ‘Try Again’.