It was the kind of therapy that money couldn’t buy.
Less than four months had passed since Rashad Haughton and his parents laid his sister, R&B singer and actress Aaliyah, to rest when “Queen of the Damned” director Michael Rymer asked to meet with him.
Because Haughton, who grew up in Detroit alongside his famous sister, speaks with the same smooth tone as Aaliyah, the director needed him to record some of her lines in “Queen of the Damned.”
Some of Aaliyah’s whispered words weren’t audible. In Hollywood, replacing dialogue like this is called looping.
Haughton and Rymer sat together and watched Aaliyah in the role of Akasha, the mother of all vampires.
“At first, I was a little scared,” Haughton, 24, says from Los Angeles. “It was so soon after everything had happened. But I looked at my mom and she thought that Aaliyah would want me to do it.
“And I thought so, too. Then he showed me the film. It was a therapeutic process. I was able to face a lot of things that were going on inside of me. I was able to come to grips with what my mission is and what the rest of my life will be like. And that is to carry on her legacy.”
“Queen,” based on the book of the same name in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series, and Haughton has been doing a lot of legwork for it, press junkets, interviews and attending premieres in his sister’s place.
It’s been emotionally draining for him, but since Aaliyah was killed in an August plane crash in the Bahamas, he has stepped into the spotlight for his family.
A graduate of Hofstra University, where he studied film, he preferred the background side of show business. He directed Aaliyah’s music video “4 Page Letter.”
Aaliyah, who would have been 23 last month, was excited about the vampire role.
She looked at it as a chance to show off her versatility, after playing Trish O’Day in the 2000 hip-hop martial arts film “Romeo Must Die.”
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press before her death, she talked about auditioning for “Queen.”
“I remember reading that script when I was shooting `Romeo.’I’m a huge fan of Anne Rice,” she said.
“This character, she’s not only a vampire, but she’s also Egyptian. So I met with the director while we were shooting `Romeo.’ And I went after that part and I finally got it.”
On her agenda, in addition to a “Sparkle” remake, two “Matrix” sequels and a host of other scripts, she planned to go to college and study ancient Egypt.
Things are really kicking up for Haughton now, with the movie opening, Aaliyah’s recently released music video “More Than a Woman” and a series of award shows.
Haughton is gearing up for Wednesday’s Grammy Awards, in which his sister is up for two awards that critics say she’ll likely win, female R&B performance and R&B album.
Aaliyah won two American Music Awards last month.
Haughton didn’t make the American Music Awards, but he and his family are honored that even in her death, Aaliyah’s music is still moving people, he says.
“It’s a very bittersweet time,” he said. “This film is out, and we’re trying to hold on to the positive energy and how her art is being celebrated during this time.
“We wish she could be here herself, but we’re going through it the best way that we can.”