Jaafar Jackson, pop music legend Michael Jackson’s 26-year-old nephew, has been cast to play him in an upcoming biopic titled Michael directed by Antoine Fuqua. Jaafar is the son of Jermaine Jackson, who was once part of their family band, Jackson 5. He shared the news on his Twitter, saying he was “humbled and honoured to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life.”
I’m humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life. To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon.
Photo by Jourdynn Jackson pic.twitter.com/Xow9Mkakup
— Jaafar Jackson (@JaafarJackson) January 30, 2023
According to producer Graham King, who was also behind Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, the team conducted a worldwide search to find an actor suitable to play Jackson. Eventually, they concluded that Jaafar was the only person they deemed perfect for it. John Logan of Gladiator and Skyfall fame will write the script, and Lionsgate is roped in as the domestic distributor. The Michael Jackson estate will be part of the film’s making, and the co-executors of the estate, John Branca and John McClain, are producing it alongside Graham King.
In recent years, music biopics have generated quite a stir among fans, with both positive and negative reviews. Austin Butler has received an Oscar nomination for his role in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. On the other hand, many fans were disturbed by the first glimpses of Amy Winehouse’s upcoming biopic starring Marisa Abela. They argued that the film seems to be exploiting and profiting off the singer’s troubled life. Marilyn Monroe’s Netflix biopic, Blonde, became embroiled in controversy for similar reasons.
Given that Michael Jackson’s family and estate will be so closely involved in the filmmaking process, it is unlikely that the film will disrespect or exploit his legacy. However, this also brings into question whether the film will address the child sexual abuse allegations made against Jackson. A previous documentary, Leaving Neverland, has already covered the trial from the perspective of two alleged survivors.