Lionsgate will distribute a new Michael Jackson biopic that will be produced by “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” Graham King. The film is being made with the cooperation of the Michael Jackson estate, which may impact how it deals with the multiple allegations of child sexual abuse that were brought against the King of Pop over the course of his career and following his 2009 death.
Entitled “Michael,” the film will be produced by King, who mined similar terrain with Freddie Mercury, and the co-executors of the Michael Jackson estate, John Branca and John McClain. The screenplay is by three-time Oscar nominee John Logan. King and Logan previously collaborated on Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator.” Lionsgate will distribute the film worldwide.
Jackson’s life and music recently inspired a Broadway show, “MJ,” which takes place as Jackson prepares for the 1992 Dangerous World Tour — a period of time before Jackson was first accused of child sexual abuse. Jackson denied those allegations and settled the accuser’s civil lawsuit. He was later tried of child molestation in 2003 and found not guilty of all counts. The singer died in 2009 at the age of 50 and always maintained his innocence, but his legacy continues to be clouded by the claims. A 2019 HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland” included a new series of allegations from choreographer Wade Robson and former child actor James Safechuck, both of whom had documented relationships with the late singer since childhood.
According to a press release announcing the distribution deal, “‘Michael’ will give audiences an in-depth portrayal of the complicated man who became the King of Pop. It will bring to life Jackson’s most iconic performances as it gives an informed insight into the entertainer’s artistic process and personal life.”
“I am very excited that Lionsgate will be part of this epic film, and thrilled to be working with Graham, who has proven success in telling iconic life stories, from ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to ‘Ali’; when combined with John, we couldn’t be in more extraordinary hands,” Drake said.
King added, “I first met the Jackson family in 1981 and I’m humbled to bring their legacy to the big screen. Sitting at Dodger Stadium watching the Victory Tour, I could never have imagined that nearly 38 years later I would get the privilege to be a part of this film.”
“Ever since Michael was little, as a member of The Jackson 5, he loved the magic of cinema,” said Katherine Jackson, the singer’s mother. “As a family, we are honored to have our life story come alive on the big screen.”
Jackson’s list of pop hits includes “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Thriller,” “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Man in the Mirror.” He is one of the best-selling singers in music history with estimated record sales of over 400 million.