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Damned Dedication To Aaliyah

Michael Rymer, director of Queen of the Damned, said that the film, set for a February 2002 release, will be dedicated to R&B singer Aaliyah, plays the title role. New York resident Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Carribean this summer. Queen of the Damned is based on the Anne Rice novel of the same name and continues the adventures of the vampire Lestat as he learns the origin of vampires. Rymer had high praise for his star even though this was only her second lead film role.

"It was a challenging role for her to play an evil, powerful character," said Rymer. "She worked on her craft and put a lot of energy into it, from movement coaching to dialogue coaching to harness flying lessons. She did the entire role wearing uncomfortable teeth [prosthetics], heavy makeup, difficult costumes and contact lenses. Not only did she deliver like a real pro, she never got grumpy, and she never complained. She set a real example. This beautiful, slender 21-year-old girl impressed me enormously. It's easy to lionize people when they're dead, but I used to say it every day during the shoot."

A scheduled test preview of Queen of the Damned in Los Angeles has been postponed as a sign of respect.