Playing Michael Jackson, the singing and dancing phenom, on screen was never going to be easy.
This may explain why the producers of a planned biopic have cast the lead role with a member of the Jackson family: the pop icon’s nephew Jaafar Jackson will play the title role in “Michael,” which begins filming this year.
Jackson, 26, is the second youngest son of Michael’s brother and former Jackson 5 member Jermaine Jackson, 68. Michael Jackson, whose career included global hits as well as ongoing scandal, died in 2009 at the age of 50.
Here’s everything we know so far about the film.
Michael Jackson tributes abound.
Not only have Jackson’s indelible hits inspired impersonators, but also a number of official productions, including:
“MJ: The Musical,” which is currently on Broadway, focuses on the drama surrounding Jackson’s 1992 Dangerous World Tour. Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon and Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage created it, and Myles Frost makes his Broadway debut.
Cirque du Soleil is currently performing “Michael Jackson One” in Las Vegas, which uses Jackson’s extensive discography as a backdrop for a journey featuring “four misfits” on a journey of self discovery.
“Who is the villain? Since 2003, “The Michael Jackson Experience” has been touring the world, recreating some of Jackson’s seminal songs and videos.
Who exactly is Jaafar Jackson?
Jackson was raised in Los Angeles by his musical family. In 2019, he released his first single, “Got Me Singing,” accompanied by a video shot in Brazil. From the staccato Latin beats to Jackson’s plaintive vocals, the song is heavily reminiscent of his uncle’s sound. Jackson also shows off some impressive dance moves on Brazilian rooftops.
“Jaafar represents my son. “It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers,” Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, said in a statement provided by Lionsgate Films.
Producer Graham King, whose credits include the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” has joined the project: “I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by how organically he personifies Michael’s spirit and personality. It was something so powerful that, despite a worldwide search, it was clear that he was the only person qualified to take on this role.”
Who is behind the Michael Jackson film?
A number of Hollywood veterans are involved in the planned biopic, which is set to begin production this year. Antoine Fuqua, who directed the 2022 Will Smith film “Emancipation” as well as the 2001 Denzel Washington vehicle “Training Day,” will direct the untitled film.
“Proud to announce @jaafarjackson as Michael — the motion picture event that explores the journey of the man who became the King of Pop,” Fuqua wrote in an Instagram post. “It’ll be here soon.”
Will this be an official Michael Jackson biopic?
Yes. And, because the project is being done with the blessing and oversight of Michael Jackson’s estate, it is unlikely that the various scandals that surrounded his life will be prominently featured in Fuqua’s biopic.
Not only will Katherine Jackson be watching the film, but so will Jackson’s longtime lawyers, John Branca and John McClain, who are co-executors of Jackson’s estate.
The Los Angeles Police Department investigated Jackson in the early 1990s after a young boy accused him of “sexual battery.” Authorities arrested Jackson on child molestation charges in 2003 after raiding his home, Neverland Ranch.
Jackson, who had always maintained his innocence, was acquitted on all charges in 2005. Jackson died four years later after his personal doctor overdosed him on the anaesthetic propofol, which was given to help the singer sleep.