Michael Jackson’s death was an absolute shock to the world. At just 50 years old, he suffered a cardiac arrest on June 25, 2009. Many remember just where they were when they heard the news, as he was more than a star – he was a legend.
While he’s largely remembered for his incredible and inimitable musical genius, he’s also known for the abuse claims against him. With an upcoming biopic about his life, starring the late King of Pop’s nephew, we wonder just how much is going to be included.
Telling the story of Michael Jackson
Back in January 2023, it was announced that the next major biopic about a musician, following the likes of Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), Rocket Man (2019) and Elvis (2022), is set to be about Michael Jackson.
On what would have been the late singer’s 65th birthday, director Antoine Fuqua revealed that the film will focus on all aspects of Jackson’s life, including his musical genius and the several controversies surrounding him. Set to be written by John Logan, who wrote Skyfall (2012), The Aviator (2004) and Gladiator (2000), the biopic will include “his most iconic performances that led him to become the greatest entertainer of all time.”
As of yet, it’s unclear what Jackson’s three children, Paris, Prince and Bigi (formerly Blanket), think about the upcoming film, but that doesn’t mean the Jackson family isn’t involved in the production.
How will the biopic handle the allegations?
While his legacy as a musician will never be forgotten, it’s been difficult to shake the abuse allegations that plagued the pop singer later in life. While alive, Michael Jackson maintained his innocence, and was even tried and found not guilty.
However, following his passing, rumors continued to spread, especially following the release of the HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland (2019). Two men who participated in it, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, allege the singer abused them for years when they were children.
Interestingly, the biopic will be made in coordination with the Jackson Estate, with co-executors John Branca and John McClain, who’ve repeatedly denied the claims, working with the team. As such, many are curious as to how it will portray such controversy from Jackson’s personal life.
Antoine Fuqua says they’re going to approach the singer’s life the only way they can – from the facts. “Me and Graham King, the producer who did Bohemian Rhapsody, we’re going to tell the facts as we know it, and it’s for the audience to make a decision how they feel about Michael, but we’re going to tell the facts as we know it,” he explained.
Michael Jackson’s nephew is a spitting image of him
Little has been revealed about the biopic, especially in the wake of the SAG-AFTRA strike. However, one thing has been confirmed: Jaafar Jackson, the nephew of the late star, will play the titular role. Son of Jermaine Jackson, this massive undertaking will serve as the 27-year-old’s acting debut.
Graham King shared his experience in casting Jaafar for the part, saying:
“I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael. 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.”
Many others see the resemblance as well, with Antoine Fuqua saying, “Michael’s nephew Jaafar is playing him – it’s uncanny how he’s so much like Michael, it’s actually scary.” He added, “There was such a spiritual connection when I first met Jaafar, who has a natural ability to emulate Michael and such a great chemistry with the camera.”
Even Jackson’s own mother, Katherine, agrees with Jaafar taking the part. “Jaafar embodies my son. It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers,” she said.
Following his casting, Jaafar posted a photo of himself dressed in the likeness of his late uncle on social media, and we have to say, the resemblance truly is uncanny!