HOLLYWOOD (CelebrityAccess) – A long-anticipated big-screen movie about global superstar, singer/songwriter, actor, producer, and Neverland Ranch’s former owner – Michael Jackson is set to start production in 2023.
The film, tentatively set to be called Michael, will be directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer, Emancipation). Three-time Oscar nominee John Logan (Gladiator, Skyfall) will write the screenplay. The biopic will also be in partnership with the singer’s estate with co-executors John Branca and John McClain producing along with Graham King (Bohemian Rhapsody).
According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, studio Lionsgate has said the film will touch on “all aspects of Jackson’s life,” and Deadline reports that the movie will deal “squarely” with more difficult issues.
There has been no shortage of those in the life of Jackson – such as allegations that Jackson sexually abused children in 2019, his controversial marriage to the now deceased daughter of Elvis, Lisa Marie Presley, and his relationship with Debbie Rowe (the biological mother of Paris, Prince, and “Blanket”). The film is being made in partnership with his estate which has commented on and defended him against the sexual abuse allegations, so it is unclear how Lionsgate will navigate that.
Jackson became a child star as a member of the Jackson 5 with Tito, Marlon, Jermaine, and Jackie Jackson – managed by their father, Joe Jackson. Later, younger brother Randy would join the group. They received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1980 and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. After the Jackson 5 disbanded, each brother went on to release their solo efforts but none were as successful as Michael’s.
Jackson went on to become a 13-time Grammy Award winner. Thriller, released via Epic Records in 1982 is the best-selling album of all time and no one can forget the introduction of the “moonwalk” when Michael effortlessly glided across the stage in March 1983 on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever special. Michael Jackson became, arguably, the biggest pop star in the world. It is yet to be reported how the biopic will handle the details surrounding his untimely death in 2009 at age 50 due to acute propofol intoxication.
Lionsgate will handle domestic distribution on Michael and will seek an international partner for the feature. Music biopics have been successful as of late with Bohemian Rhapsody earning $910 million globally and Baz Lurhmann’s Elvis managing to rake in $287.3 million globally in 2022. December’s Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody has grossed $49.2 million globally.
Fuqua last directed Will Smith’s Emancipation and is filming The Equalizer 3 with Denzel Washington. His long career has also included Training Day, which won Washington an Oscar. There have been no reports of who will play the pop star as of press time.