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AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Look at Legacy of Aaliyah

Aired February 22, 2002 - 07:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: She was just 15 when she hit it big with her very first album. But Aaliyah the pop star was only 22 when she died last summer in a plane crash. Her career was still on the rise and she was taking on new creative challenges, like the starring role in a feature film.

That movie, "Queen of the Damned," opens this weekend. In the film, Aaliyah plays the mother of all vampires. Joining us now to talk more about the young star's legacy, Chris Farley, the magazine's -- "TIME" magazine's senior editor and author of the book, "Aaliyah: More than a Woman." He joins us now. Thanks a lot for being here.

CHRISTOPHER JOHN FARLEY, AUTHOR, "AALIYAH: MORE THAN A WOMAN": Hey, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

COOPER: How much of the movie had Aaliyah completed before she died?

FARLEY: Well she pretty much shot the entire thing. But what was left is a little bit of re-dubbing of her lines. And, oddly enough, they brought in her brother Rashad (ph) to sort of finish re- dubbing some of her lines for her, because he has sort of a voice that sounds a little bit like hers. It's sort of serene and has the same kind of tones. So -- and that's been done in the past. James Dean never finished all his line for "Giant," and one of his friends came in and finished his lines as well.

COOPER: I mean it must be a real challenge for a movie studio to market a film whose -- one of the stars has died. How does the studio (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

FARLEY: Well, it's tough because fans are watching it the whole way because they don't want you to sort of desecrate the star that they loved in life. And, in fact, Warner Brothers, the film behind -- the studio behind this film, ran into some trouble because they had a tag line that said, "All she wants is hell on earth."

COOPER: Yes.

FARLEY: And a lot of folks that loved Aaliyah were like, "Well, jeez, we don't want to think of our Aaliyah wanting hell on earth. What's going on here? But she is playing a vampire in this film; it is a villain's role. And so the tag line was appropriate, but it got a lot of fans upset. COOPER: There are some people -- you know, some critics who say when the star of a movie dies, the film should be buried with the star. That it's inappropriate to bring out a movie.

FARLEY: Well, if that had happened, then we wouldn't have seen some of James Dean's great work. We never would have seen "Giant." We never would have seen "Brainstorm," Natalie Wood's last film. Maybe we shouldn't have seen that film.

COOPER: I was going to say, "Brainstorm" wasn't...

FARLEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) poor review. But the same thing with "Game of Death" and a couple of Bruce Lee's films. So there have been other stars whose legacies really have lived on because of the work they were finishing up when they -- when they died.

COOPER: This movie has gotten mixed reviews. I mean "The New York Times" today gave it a pretty bad review, in fact.

FARLEY: Yeah, I mean the buzz on the film wasn't very good. And whenever the buzz on the film is bad, usually the film comes out and some of these critics will leap on it. You know, whether the film was sort of good or bad, I know that our critic at "TIME" magazine, Richard Corless (ph), liked Aaliyah's performance. So it has been getting mixed reviews. Some critics have weighed in positively, other critics haven't like it so much.

COOPER: You know, there are a probably a large segment of the country which had never heard of her really until her untimely death. How big a star was she?

FARLEY: She was a very big star and she was a star that was on the rise. I mean she was in this film, she was also cast to be in the sequels to "The Matrix" as well.

COOPER: She was also in "Romeo Must Die."

FARLEY: "Romeo Must Die." And she had a big music career going too. She was nominated for a couple of Grammys after her death. Her last album went to number one after her death. And there have been a lot of music stars who have actually sold music alive -- dead, than alive, like Tupac Shakur, like Kurt Cobain in the end. And a lot of music stars only come to people's attention after they die, like Selena. Most people didn't know about her outside of the Latin community until she died. And suddenly her name was everywhere; suddenly they were making feature films about her.

COOPER: Are there other movies coming out with her in it? Are there other albums out there? I mean Tupac Shakur seems to have released several albums since his death. Are there -- is there another Aaliyah album somewhere?

FARLEY: Yeah, like Tupac, like Jimmy Hendrix, we're going to -- like Biggy Smalls, we're going to hear more of Aaliyah even after her death. I talked to the president of her record company who is also her cousin. He told me that she actually recorded a lot of music that hasn't been heard yet, at least a whole album's worth. And they'll be releasing that at some point in the future.

COOPER: All right. "TIME" magazine Senior Editor, Chris Farley, thanks a lot for coming in and filling us in.

FARLEY: Hey, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

COOPER: All right.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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