All the Major Movie & TV Roles That Slipped Through Zendaya’s Fingers
While Zendaya was once known simply as a Disney Channel star, she’s now a feminist icon, Hollywood superstar, social media goddess, and SO much more. But just because the entire world is basically OB-SESSED with the actress doesn’t mean that every career move goes exactly as planned.
In some cases, the 20-year-old actually turned down a major role. In others, her audition didn’t go as well as she would’ve hoped. Keep reading to see all the ‘almosts‘ that Zendaya probs still thinks about to this day.
1. Aaliyah Haughton, Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B — When it was announced that Zendaya would be playing this iconic singer who tragically died in a plane crash when she was just 22 years old, she was SUPER excited (“She’s been an inspiration and influence in my whole career, her talent still shines brighter than ever. All I wanna do is honor her,” she tweeted following the casting news). A few weeks later, however, the 20-year-old decided that she did NOT want to be a part of the Lifetime Original Movie anymore and backed out of the project.
“The main reasons [why I backed out] were the production value wasn’t there, there were complications with the music rights, and I just felt like it wasn’t being handled delicately considering the situation,” she explained on Instagram. “I tried my best to reach out to the family on my own and I wrote a letter, but I was unable to do so. Therefore, I felt not really morally okay with moving forward with the project.”
Zendaya just recently said that the film “wasn’t well done” and she “didn’t feel that it was a project [she] should be a part of.”
2. CeCe Jones Shake It Up! — While you first fell in love with Zendaya as Rocky Blue on Disney Channel’s Shake It Up!, it was Bella Thorne‘s part she originally auditioned for. She told J-14 magazine, “The really cool part about my audition process was I originally came in for CeCe, and they asked me to read for Rocky. And I really felt Rocky. I had a connection with her character. And when I went with Bella [Thorne] it was like instant chemistry.”
3. Host, Fashion Police — Before Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic made those horribly racist remarks against Zendaya, the K.C. Undercover actress reportedly went in to audition for GR’s spot as a style critic. “Zendaya had been a guest on the show several times and Joan [Rivers] really took a liking to her, so they brought her in to audition,” a source told Radar Online. “[She] auditioned for Giuliana’s position because Giuliana was unsure if she wanted to return to the show after Joan had passed away.” Imagine??
4. Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man: Homecoming — It was first reported that Zendaya would be playing a new character in the upcoming Spider-Man flick, but then one report surfaced that said she was actually going to play the iconic Mary Jane. The actress cleared up the rumors to ET Online saying, “Well, I’m not Mary Jane unfortunately, but I am in the movie, which is exciting. My character’s name is Michelle, if that’s what everybody wants to think. I’m gonna let people think whatever they want to think.” You can see Z as Michelle this summer when the film premieres.
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Zendaya has been the lead on not one, but two shows on Disney Channel over the course of her career. We were first introduced to her on Shake It Up! in 2010, on which she starred alongside Bella Thorne. Since 2015, she's played the title character on the series K.C. Undercover. Both roles allowed her to showcase her star power, and gave Disney a much-needed chance to make the network more diverse once again.
Photo: Disney Channel