Michael Jackson biopic from Antoine Fuqua to start production after SAG-AFTRA strike and secures Universal Pictures for international distribution

Antoine Fuqua’s epic biopic on the King of Pop will be produced and distributed domestically by Lionsgate and be distributed globally by Universal Pictures.

Now that projects are hoping to move forward after the creative unions and the studios settle their disputes, The Wrap has revealed that one of the productions that will be starting as soon as the SAG-AFTRA strike ends is Antoine Fuqua’s unenviable task of bringing the King of Pop’s story to the big screen. Michael will tell the story of Michael Jackson and the equally unenviable task of portraying the larger-than-life music icon falls on the shoulders of Jackson’s own nephew, Jafaar Jackson.

According to The Wrap, Michael locks Universal Pictures to distribute the biopic globally while Lionsgate will be producing the film as well as distributing the movie domestically. The film comes from Graham King, who also served as a producer on another big musical biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, which grossed $911 million and earned Oscar wins. John Logan, whose credits include Gladiator, The Aviator and Skyfall, penned the screenplay for Michael. King will be joined by producers John Branca and John McClain. The film will also have the participation of the coexecutors of Michael Jackson’s estate.

Fuqua’s movie aims to be an in-depth portrayal of the King of Pop’s complicated life and legacy. Jackson was the biggest artist in music for decades, and sexual abuse allegations would haunt the pop star for the rest of his life. It will remain to be seen how the movie deals with the sensitive subject, although the estate and family’s involvement will likely mean the film will not paint the musician in an overwhelmingly negative light. The director of the HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland, has voiced his criticism that the movie will glorify the disgraced pop star after his own film presented damning testimonies from Jackson’s accusers.

The movie will no doubt draw controversy, but the biopic also aims to recreate some of Jackson’s greatest stage performances. The film’s star, Jafaar Jackson, is the son of Michael’s brother and Jackson 5 member, Jermaine Jackson. Jafaar has displayed the dancing prowess that emulates his uncle’s famous steps as well as his uncanny ability to sing like Michael. With the support of the Jackson estate, Fuqua’s film will also have the benefit of using Jackson’s iconic tunes.

Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/michael-jackson-biopic-universal-pictures/

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