“If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, then make that change.”
– Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror
After helping to bring the life and times of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury to the big screen, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY producer Graham King has secured the rights to make a film about Michael Jackson‘s storied and complicated life. As per the deal arranged with Jackson’s estate, King has been granted access to all of the Gloved One’s music, which will no doubt play a major role in creating a spirited biopic centered on the King of Pop himself.
Deadline was first to break the news about Jackson’s life eventually moonwalking its way onto the big screen, though sources close to the project have told them that King’s version will be a more “sanitized” rendering of Jackson’s life. Joining forces with King for the endeavor is three-time Oscar-nominated writer John Logan, who previously teamed with King on the Martin Scorsese-directed THE AVIATOR.
While the word “sanitized” is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows, it’s to be understood that the film will not ignore the complexity and more unsettling aspects of Jackson’s life and career. As the story goes, Michael Jackson became a pop sensation as a child while fronting the Jackson family band, The Jackson Five. As fame and fortune continued to tighten its grip around Jackson as the years danced by, MJ encountered a number of lawsuits and allegations related to sexual abuse of child companions who were known to attend sleepovers with the King of Pop at his Neverland Ranch. The most recent allegation set upon Jackson’s estate stems from the Emmy-winning HBO documentary LEAVING NEVERLAND, a presentation that framed the Gloved One as an abusive icon with many shames and secrets. The makers of the film are currently involved in a $100 million lawsuit with Jackson’s estate.
According to Deadline’s sources, Jackson’s estate will not be involved in the crafting of Logan’s screenplay.
While the details of Jackson’s life are without a doubt sordid and scandalous, a project such as this has long been desired by fans of MJ’s music and storied career. Personally, I’ll be very interested to see how Logan balances MJ’s abusive upbringing with allegations of pedophilia heaped upon the King of Pop later in life. Casting also stands to be quite the popcorn-chomping proposition, as many have tried and failed to cast MJ with respect to his race and variety of trasformations throughout the years. Joseph Fiennes, anyone?
We’ll be sure to keep you up to date on this curious project as it develops.