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Michael Jackson‘s nephew Jaafar Jackson will play him in the biopic about the singer’s life. Lionsgate is behind the project, titled Michael, which will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, who shared the news on Instagram.
Graham King, a seasoned hand at biopics with the Oscar-winning Queen film Bohemian Rhapsody under his belt, is producing along with John Branca and John McClain, who are the co-executors of the Michael Jackson estate. John Logan, who penned Gladiator and The Aviator, wrote the script.
Jackson, who won 13 Grammys and rose from child stardom in the Jackson 5 to become the biggest pop star in the world, died in 2009 at age 50.
According to Lionsgate, the film will address all aspects of Jackson’s life, though it is unclear how it will address the many controversies involving the late music icon, given that the biopic is being made in conjunction with his estate, which has defended him against accusations of sexually abusing children. Those accusations were returned to the public discourse thanks to the 2019 HBO documentary Leaving Neverland.
“Jaafar embodies my son. It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers,” said Katherine Jackson, mother of Michael Jackson. Jaafar Jackson is the son of Michael’s brother, Jermaine Jackson, and is a budding singer who released his debut single, “Got Me Singing,” in 2019.
“I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael,” said King. “It was something so powerful that even after conducting a worldwide search, it was clear that he is the only person to take on this role. I am beyond thrilled that he has come on board to portray his uncle and cannot wait for the world to see him on the big screen as Michael Jackson.”
Michael will begin principal photography in 2023.
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