Now that the WGA strike has officially come to a close, studios under the AMPTP are expected to cut a deal with the SAG-AFTRA unions any day now, finally bringing Hollywood productions back into action. One result of productions resuming their schedule seems to be major movement on a number of projects, including an upcoming Michael Jackson biopic, which has just locked Universal Pictures as an international distributor, according to a new write-up from The Wrap. The film is expected to begin filming as soon as the SAG-AFTRA strike comes to a complete close.
For years, a major Michael Jackson biopic has been in the works, but now, thanks to his nephew Jaafar Jackson stepping up as the star, Michael is moving forward.
The gears behind the scenes of the Michael Jackson biopic have been turning for quite some time, with many studio executives scrambling to get the film off the ground for nearly a decade now. The film, which will be simply titled Michael, is set to star the late king of pop’s singer-songwriter nephew, Jaafar Jackson. Jaafar is the son of Jackson 5 vocalist and bassist Jermaine Jackson and will be making his feature film acting debut in the upcoming movie.
Michael will be directed by renowned filmmaker Antoine Fuqua, who is best known for helming films such as Will Smith’s Emancipation, the 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven, and the hit Denzel Washington film trilogy, The Equalizer. Though Fuqua’s filmography tends to lean more toward high-intensity action films than measured character studies, the filmmaker has extensive experience working on sensitive subject matter within the world of music and sports, including helming the TV mini-series Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers, as well as the documentary film What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali.
Fuqua may be a perfect fit for the Michael Jackson tale, having directed music videos for big-name artists like Lil Wayne, Bruno Mars, Usher, Stevie Wonder, and many more.
Antoine Fuqua is known more for his movies with Denzel Washington, but he’ll likely bring his music video experience to the Michael Jackson movie.
The Michael Jackson biopic is set to be produced by Graham King, who previously served as a producer on the Oscar Award-winning biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Unnamed members of the Michael Jackson estate are also said to be listed as producers on the project, ensuring that the film’s subject matter is handled with grace and respect.
Michael Jackson is still to this day widely regarded as one of the most polarizing figures in pop culture due to the disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors, which followed him in the final years of his life.
The Michael Jackson biopic is likely to focus on the former Jackson 5 singer’s meteoric rise as the King of Pop through the 80s and early 90s.
The film is set to be an unflinching and in-depth portrayal of the legendary musician. However, it remains to be seen at this time how much focus, if any, the unproven allegations will receive in the biopic.
Given that Jaafar Jackson, who is currently listed as the only actor on the film’s IMDb title page, is only 27 years old, it seems likely that the bulk of the movie will focus on Michael Jackson’s early adult life and meteoric rise to stardom following his departure from the family band.
Regardless, the Michael Jackson film is set to finally begin shooting in the near future as talks of a deal with the Screen Actors Guild continue to make headlines. For now, all fans can do to learn more is wait and see what news comes next.