- Associated Press - Friday, July 18, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Alexandra Shipp has very little time to get ready for her new role as the late R&B; singer Aaliyah.

Lifetime spokeswoman Kannie Yu LaPack confirmed Friday that Shipp will play the singer, who died in a plane crash in 2001. Shipp replaces Zendaya in the Lifetime biopic “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B.;” Zendaya pulled out of production last month.

The project was briefly halted, but filming will start later this month, leaving the 23-year-old Shipp little time to prep. She has played roles on Nick show “House of Anubis” and the movie “Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.”

The biopic will be released this fall and will follow the multiplatinum-selling R&B; star’s career from 10-year-old “Star Search” contestant to her death in a plane crash in the Bahamas at age 22.