Lifetime offered viewers a first look at its Aaliyah biopic this weekend, releasing a brief, 15-second trailer that shows its new star, Alexandra Shipp, taking on the role of the late R&B singer.
While the short trailer shows little more than a moody glimpse of Shipp undertaking some of Aaliyah’s distinctive choreography and channeling her fashion and attitude, it also provides some reassurance that the production is back on track after a rocky start earlier this summer. At the end of the clip comes a note that Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B will premiere on Saturday, November 15th.
In late June, the production was put on hold after Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman announced that she was dropping out of the title role. Shortly before that, Aaliyah’s relatives had raised objections to the project, criticizing it for “disregarding the families and dishonoring the legacies of celebrated figures who have passed on.” The film, based on Christopher John Farley’s biography Aaliyah: More Than a Woman, will follow the singer from her debut on Star Search at the age of 10 through her untimely death in a plane crash at 22.
By mid-July, Lifetime announced that Shipp, best known for her role in the Nickelodeon mystery series House of Anubis, had signed on to play Aaliyah. The following month, the network cast newcomers Chattrisse Dolabaille and Izaak Smith in the role of Aaliyah collaborators Missy Elliott and Timbaland. Shipp also has a part in the upcoming N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton.