Michael Jackson’s Estate Is Producing A Biopic Directed By Antoine Fuqua

January 18, 2023 / Posted by:

Deadline reports that director Antoine Fuqua has signed on to direct Michael, an upcoming movie about the extremely fucked up life of Michael Jackson. The question is, what kind of biopic will this be? A (truly) white-washed “he was the King of Pop!” version? Or a no-holds-barred portrait of a guy who (allegedly) did some really horrible shit? Sources tell Deadline that Michael will “deal squarely” with the pedophile accusations, but I’m not expecting much. After all, this shit is co-produced by the executors of Michael’s estate. And those guys weren’t exactly fans of HBO’s documentary Leaving Neverland.

Co-executors John Branca and John McClain will produce the Lionsgate film alongside Graham King (Bohemian Rhapsody, The Aviator) and GK Films. Oscar nominee John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator, and a couple of James Bond films) wrote the screenplay. Deadline writes:

Turning Mercury’s complicated rise, fall and triumphant comeback into a film that won Best Actor for Rami Malek might have been an easier task than the moonwalking over landmines that will have to be done with Jackson’s story. Anyone who has seen the job that Fuqua did on the Will Smith-starrer Emancipation might come away believing he hit a high-water mark as a filmmaker because of his unflinching telling of an often brutal story of the escaped enslaved man Joseph.

In addition to 2022’s Emancipation, Antoine Fuqua directed Training Day, Shooter, Southpaw, and The Equalizer movies. Early in his career, he directed music videos for Prince, Lil’ Wayne, Toni Braxton, and Stevie Wonder:

“The first films of my career were music videos, and I still feel that combining film and music are a deep part of who I am,” said Fuqua. “For me, there is no artist with the power, the charisma, and the sheer musical genius of Michael Jackson. I was influenced to make music videos by watching his work – the first Black artist to play in heavy rotation on MTV. His music and those images are part of my worldview, and the chance to tell his story on the screen alongside his music was irresistible.”

Deadline says that filmmakers want Michael to be “a global juggernaut” like the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Like that movie and last year’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody and Elvis, “the drama will come from balancing the sides of Jackson’s life and please his fans, as well as standing up and not seeming like a whitewash.” It may begin later in Michael’s life and include flashbacks to his traumatic childhood.

Obviously, the next question is… who will they get to play Michael? Joseph Fiennes tackled the role in that pulled Urban Myths episode about MJ, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marlon Brando fleeing NYC after the events of 9/11. But, as you can plainly see…

…it’s hard to make anyone look like Michael Jackson without creating something truly horrifying. Maybe Joseph can do a good deed and hook Michael’s filmmakers up with the CGI guys who designed Ralph Fiennes’ Voldemort no-nose in Harry Potter?

Pic: Werner Baum/picture-alliance/Cover Images

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