HBO has debuted the official trailer for “Leaving Neverland,” the four-hour documentary in which two men discuss in detail their relationship with Michael Jackson. The non-fiction feature, directed by “The Pedophile Hunter” and “Frontline Fighting” filmmaker Dan Reed, alleges Jackson sexually abused the documentary’s two subjects. The allegations in the film have turned it into one of the year’s most controversial offerings.
The official synopsis from HBO reads: “‘Leaving Neverland’ is a two-part documentary exploring the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson. Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 37, and Robson, now 41, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, the film crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of his own.”
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“Leaving Neverland” has proven controversial ever since the project was announced as a 2019 Sundance Film Festival world premiere. Michael Jackson’s estate has criticized the movie for featuring allegations of sexual abuse against the music icon. Despite pressure from the estate not to air the movie, HBO president Casey Bloys has remained committed to bringing the documentary to television.
“I don’t know where those reports came from, but there has been no wavering,” Bloys told IndieWire, adding HBO has “absolutely not” second-guessed their Sundance buy. “All I ask on this show is that people reserve judgement until they watch it, and after you see how powerful it is and how eloquent [the subjects] are about [describing] the abuse they suffered, it’s hard to argue with. Everybody has to watch it and make their own decisions.”
In his B+ review out of the Sundance Film Festival, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich said the documentary definitively proves Michael Jackson sexually abused children. “You’ll never listen to Michael Jackson the same way again,” Ehrlich wrote. “In fact, you may never listen to Michael Jackson again at all.”
“Leaving Neverland” will air March 3 and March 4 on HBO. Watch the official trailer below.