Singer Nona Gaye was prepared to give up her dream role in the matrix sequels if the parents of tragic Aaliyah disapproved of her replacing the late music star.

Gaye was thrilled when she was given the role of ZEE in Matrix films RELOADED and REVOLUTIONS, because she was a such a huge fan of the first film - which she has seen seven times.

But she felt compelled to get in touch with Aaliyah's family to make sure they were happy with the fact she'd be replacing the dead star, who was killed in a 2001 plane crash.

Gaye says, "I was not totally relaxed when I got the role. It was a bittersweet undertaking at first. It wasn't as though I got the role and I jumped for joy.

"It was definitely a feeling of melancholy and feeling sad because I lost two friends with Aaliyah in that plane crash. It was very personal to me.

"After I was offered Aaliyah's role and before I decided to say yes I called her brother Rashad and asked him if the family was comfortable with me playing the role.

"He said they were fine with it, and he added that he thought his sister would want me to do it.

"I thought it was the right thing to do - getting in touch with them - because I lost my father when I was nine-years-old and I know that if someone were doing a film about his life I would want the same respect. I felt that they deserved that."

26/10/2003 20:59