Aaliyah’s ‘Queen of the Damned’ 15th Anniversary: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Vampire Thriller
Film adaptation of an Anne Rice novel was late singer’s last on-screen performance
Rasha Ali | February 21, 2017 @ 3:28 PM
Last Updated: February 22, 2017 @ 6:21 AM
"Queen of the Damned" made waves when it was released in 2002 -- not because it was critically-acclaimed, but rather because it was the beloved R&B singer Aaliyah's last on-screen performance. On the movie's 15th anniversary, here are 10 things you probably didn't know about Aaliyah and the feature film that was released six months after her death following a small plane crash in August 2001.
TheWrap has teamed up with IMDb to share these little known facts. Go to IMDb.com for more trivia, goofs and quotes from the fantasy-horror film.
The R&B singer said it was fun to play the role of an immoral and merciless character because she has always loved the dark side. "It's fun to just be that mean, evil and see how far you can really go," she said in an ABC interview. "I think everybody has a bit of a fascination with the dark side and I myself have always loved the dark side as well."
One of the director's reasons for casting Aaliyah as an Egyptian queen was because he wanted the character to look like she was actually from the country she was portraying. "There were two factors for casting Aaliyah. I was very keen that Akasha, an Egyptian queen, not look like Elizabeth Taylor," he told Vibe in reference to the iconic actress' role in "Cleopatra." (Aaliyah was actually African American with Native American heritage.)
Aaliyah finished recording her self-titled album while filming "Queen of the Damned." She would apparently shoot during the day and then record her album in the studio at night. She was shooting a music video for a song from her album in the Bahamas shortly before her death.
The film inspired a real life murder in Scotland. Allan Menzies stabbed his friend 42 times and killed him after claiming that Akasha, the Queen of the Damned, had ordered him to kill. He even drank his friend's blood.
Aaliyah's acting career was just starting to take off before she died at age 22. "Queen of the Damned" was her second and last feature film, but she had starred in "Romeo Must Die" before that. She was set to star in "Honey," but the role went to Jessica Alba after the singer died. Aaliyah was also supposed to have a role in the "Matrix: Reloaded."
Anne Rice, the author of "Queen of the Damned," said she "didn't care for the movie ... at all" and had begged the studio not to make it because her readers would rather see a movie based on Lestat the vampire.
Despite being billed as the star of "Queen of the Damned," Aaliyah didn't really get much screen time and she doesn't appear until well after the 30-minute mark.
Tom Cruise played Lestat in "Interview With a Vampire" in 1994 and was asked to return to reprise his role in "Queen of the Damned." He apparently declined the offer. It was given to Irish actor Stuart Townsend, instead.