Aaliyah Movie To Begin Filming This Month
It is hard to believe that the music world tragically lost its angel, late singer and actress, Aaliyah Dana Haughton, some nine years ago in a horrific plane crash in 2001. In some cases, the industry is still grieving. Affectionately known as “Baby Girl” by family, friends, and fans alike, Aaliyah was a multi-talented and gifted force to be reckoned with, selling over 32 million albums worldwide before sadly leaving this world at the age of 22.
Warner Brothers Films will start filming a biopic based on Aaliyah’s life at the end of this month. The film will be directed by Bill Condon, the director behind the award-winning blockbuster, Dreamgirls. Canadian singer and former girlfriend of highly popular rapper Drake, Keshia Chanté (pictured below) is set to play the late singer. Chanté bares a striking resemblance to Aaliyah and has been vigorously studying every aspect of the star’s life.
She has viewed hundreds of hours of video in order to emulate Aaliyah, from her dance moves to her sweet melodic vocals for the film. Chanté is even speaking with Aaliyah’s family members, in order to give the role the proper justice and accuracy in which it is due. In a recent statement regarding her role, Chanté stated:
“Aaliyah inspired me and an entire generation. She was stunning, effortless and was capable of so many things. This is a hard undertaking, I have big shoes to fill but I am committed, determined and will train to the very end to master this role. I want Aaliyah’s fans and admirers to be proud of this film and feel like it was the best interpretation possible of our baby girl. I refuse to disappoint.”
Known to be a somewhat mysterious and private young woman, the film has been reported to share a very deep and personal side of Aaliyah; even addressing the singer’s controversial and highly debated marriage to her then 27-year-old producer and mentor, R. Kelly, whom she wed when she was only 15.
A 1995 January issue of VIBE magazine published the couple’s marriage license, revealing that Aaliyah fabricated her age, claiming to be 18 in order for the two to elope in Chicago in 1994. The marriage was later annulled five months later, leading Aaliyah and R.Kelly to terminate their professional, musical, and personal relationship indefinitely.
Aaliyah’s real life friends and colleagues will help with the film’s production and make appearances, including acclaimed choreographer Fatima Robinson, who worked with Aaliyah just hours before her untimely death. Robinson is also working with Chanté to help her replicate Aaliyah’s distinctive dance moves and style. Aaliyah’s longtime friends and musical family, Timbaland, Missy Elliot, and Ginuwine are also slated to contribute production and make appearances. Even the legendary and famous director, Hype Williams will aid in production and grace the screen, too.
Williams directed Aaliyah’s music video for “Rock the Boat,” which was the last video she filmed before her tragic death on location in the Bahamas. The music video’s set will be reconstructed for the film which is just another indication of the importance of conveying perfect imitation of Aaliyah’s life.
The film is also reported to carry an impressive $80 million production budget and is set for a national release date for some time next year. At this time, it is unknown if Aaliyah’s boyfriend at the time of her death, co-founder of Rocafella Records and owner of multimedia compound and art gallery DD172, Damon Dash will partake in the film. Dash and Aaliyah had plans to wed.
Without any doubt, the film is bound to be treasured by fans worldwide and will continue to allow the legacy of the late great, Aaliyah Dana Haughton to carry on and live on for many years to come.
Rest in Power, Baby Girl.