Michael Jackson Biopic Officially Finds Its Star

Jaafar Jackson, who is Michael Jackson's nephew, has been cast in the biopic about his life.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

The wait is over for fans of the King of Pop to find out who will be playing him in an upcoming Michael Jackson biopic as filmmaker Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) has announced that he’s found the perfect star. In an Instagram post, which you can see below, the revered director made the big reveal that the leading part would be played by none other than the late singer’s own nephew, Jaafar Jackson. The behind-the-scenes shot shows Jaafar Jackson striking a very Michael-like pose in front of a mirror-filled rehearsal room, complete with the iconic outfit of the pop star from the hat to the shoes. 

For those who may be wondering where Jaafar Jackson lands on the Jackson family tree, the 26-year-old is the son of Jackson 5 member Jermaine Jackson, who was Michael Jackson’s brother. The Lionsgate-backed feature is setting out to tell the story of the deceased musical icon, shedding light on his early days, rise to the top, most notable performances, and other major milestones that turned him into a household name. Of course, there’s also a dark cloud hovering over the singer’s career following years of child sexual abuse allegations that were and still are being brought against him. 

With the Michael Jackson biopic being made possible via a partnership with the Michael Jackson estate, it’s unclear as to if or how far the picture will delve into these claims, including the 2003 trial in which the singer was tried and found not guilty. The performer would vehemently deny all of the allegations against him for the remaining years of his life, with his family supporting him every step of the way. In 2009 at the young age of 50, Michael Jackson passed away in his home due to cardiac arrest. 

The upcoming film’s producer, Graham King, says that being a Jackson isn’t the sole reason that Jaafar Jackson landed the leading role. According to Variety, King says that a global casting search was carried out before the team decided on Michael Jackson’s nephew. In his statement, King revealed that he met the young performer “two years ago” and was immediately taken aback by the way he brought the “spirit and personality of Michael” back to life.

He went on to say that even after scouting actors from around the world, Jaafar Jackson remained to be the “clear” choice and “the only person” to step into the moonwalking shoes of Michael Jackson. The young man’s support doesn’t stop there. Even his grandmother and Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, is cheering him on, saying that her grandson “embodies my son,” adding that it’s a “wonderful” thing to watch him march forward with the family’s “legacy.”

As for Antoine Fuqua, the critically celebrated filmmaker is staying incredibly busy as of late, bringing audiences more power-packed productions than ever before. In 2022, he stood behind the Brad Pitt-led action thriller Bullet Train as an executive producer as well as helmed Will Smith’s post-Oscar win (and slap) performance in Emancipation. Before the Michael Jackson biopic, which is titled Michael, will see its day in the cinema, Fuqua will release the highly anticipated third installment in his Denzel Washington-led franchise, The Equalizer.

As of right now, a release date for Jaafar Jackson’s acting debut in Michael has not been announced.