Zendaya wants to make Ronnie Spector proud when she portrays iconic singer in movie

A diptych of two women
Actress and singer Zendaya, left, will portray Ronnie Spector, shown in 1964, right, in a biopic based on Spector’s memoir “Be My Baby.”
(Gareth Cattermole; James Kriegsmann/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Zendaya wishes everyone got to experience Ronnie Spector the way she did and hopes to make the late singer proud.

The “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Euphoria” star paid tribute Thursday to the “Be My Baby” singer, joining the droves of fans mourning Spector after she died of cancer this week at age 78.

The 25-year-old actor was selected by Spector to portray her in an upcoming biopic about the Ronettes singer’s life. The project, optioned by A24 in September 2020, is based on Spector’s memoir, “Be My Baby,” that she co-wrote with Vince Waldron, Deadline reported.


Singer Ronnie Spector’s many friends and fans in music and beyond reacted to her death Wednesday. “Her mark on rock and roll is indelible.”

Jan. 12, 2022

It also brought Zendaya and Spector closer.

“This news just breaks my heart. To speak about her as if she’s not with us feels strange as she is so incredibly full of life. There’s not a time I saw her without her iconic red lips and full teased hair, a true rockstar through and through,” Zendaya wrote Thursday on Instagram.

Then, shifting her tone to address Spector directly, Zendaya praised the 1960s girl-group icon who has been credited with bringing an edge to the pop genre.

“Ronnie, being able to know you has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” she said. “Thank you for sharing your life with me, I could listen to your stories for hours and hours. Thank you for your unmeasured talent, your unwavering love for performing, your strength, resilience and your grace. There is absolutely nothing that could dim the light you cast. I admire you so much and am so grateful for the bond we share.”

Spector’s blend of yearning and grit, as evidenced on the timeless “Be My Baby” and in her tale of survival at the hands of her abuser, made her a rock icon.

Jan. 13, 2022

Zendaya went on to describe Spector, who was signed by and briefly married to embattled record producer Phil Spector, as “a magical force of greatness.”

“[T]he world of music will never be the same,” she wrote. “I wish everyone got to experience you the way I did. We celebrate your beautiful life and give you all the flowers you so rightfully deserve. Rest in great power Ronnie. I hope to make you proud.”

Ronnie Spector, who sang such indelible 1960s hits as “Be My Baby” and “Baby, I Love You” as the leader of the girl group the Ronettes, has died.

Jan. 12, 2022

Zendaya’s Instagram post, which included an image of Spector crouching on a director’s chair, was liked by more than 3.4 million users. Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Lawson, commented that she was “glad [Zendaya] got to know her.” Actress Holly Robinson-Peete added that Spector was a legend “who needed more flowers” but was happy to see Zendaya “showered her with them.”


Representatives for A24 did not immediately respond Friday to The Times’ request for comment.