10:48am PT by Evan Real
HBO Unveils First 'Leaving Neverland' Trailer
HBO on Tuesday unveiled the first trailer for the upcoming Leaving Neverland documentary, which follows two adult accusers — Wade Robson and James Safechuck — as they recount childhood abuse they claim to have suffered at the hands of Michael Jackson.
"I was 7 years old. Michael asked, 'Do you and the family want to come to Neverland?'" dancer and choreographer Robson says at one point in the preview. His mother, Joy Robson, adds, "We drive in and you forget about all your problems. You're in Neverland. It was a fantasy."
Safechuck goes on to recall moments from his adolescence spent at Neverland Ranch with the late pop superstar. "The days were filled with magical childhood adventure experiences: playing tag, watching movies, eating junk food," says Safechuck. "Anything you could ever want as a child."
Elsewhere, Joy Robson says that Jackson "just came across as a loving, caring, kind soul." She adds, "It was easy to believe that he was just that."
But her son reveals that the time he shared with Jackson wasn't "out of a storybook," nor was it a "fairy tale" like it may have seemed to outsiders. "He told me if they ever found out what we were doing, he and I would go to jail for the rest of our lives," Robson — who rose to fame in the early 2000s through his work with Britney Spears and *NSYNC, among other pop acts — says in the clip.
"Secrets will eat you up," Safechuck says of the details about his relationship with Jackson that he previously kept quiet. "You feel so alone."
Though Robson defended Jackson in court during the singer's infamous 2005 child molestation case, the choreographer says in the trailer that he wasn't telling the truth in his testimony. "I want to be able to speak the truth as loud as I had to speak the lie for so long," Robson, now 36, explains.
After Leaving Neverland's debut in January at the Sundance Film Festival, Jackson's estate called the four-hour film "a tabloid character assassination" and insisted it "isn't a documentary," while his family called director Dan Reed and the film's two accusers "opportunists."
Reed reacted to the criticism in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "They have a very precious asset to protect. Every time a song plays, a cash register goes 'ka-ching,'" he said. "It doesn't surprise me that they've come out fighting in defense of their asset."
Part one of Leaving Neverland will air on Sunday, March 3, on HBO, with the second part following on Monday, March 4.