In lieu of finding an A-list star to play the King of Pop, Lionsgate is keeping it in the family. Jaafar Jackson, the nephew of Michael Jackson, will play his uncle in the upcoming biopic “Michael,” it was announced January 30.
Jaafar Jackson is the son of Jackson 5 member and Michal Jackson’s brother Jermaine Jackson. Antoine Fuqua directs the film which will be 26-year-old Jaafar Jackson’s acting debut.
“I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael,” Graham King, a producer on the film, said in a statement. “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.”
“It’s incredibly exciting to watch Jaafar bring Michael to life,” Fuqua 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.”
“Jaafar embodies my son,” Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson said in a statement. “It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers.”
“Michael” is expected to begin principal photography in 2023. Along with King, the Michael Jackson estate will co-executive produce alongside John Branca and John McClain. John Logan, who previously collaborated with King on Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator” and wrote Best Picture winner “Gladiator,” will pen the script.
“Michael” will be an in-depth portrayal of Jackson’s life, featuring recreations of his most iconic performances. Jackson, who died in 2009 at age 50 from cardiac arrest, is one of the most acclaimed figures in popular music, winning 13 Grammy Awards and selling over 278 records worldwide. His career has also been plagued by controversy, particularly accusations of molestation and child abuse, with two alleged victims telling their stories in the 2019 docuseries “Leaving Neverland.”
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