‘Michael’: Studio confirms biopic on King of Pop is in the works
Despite the controversy surrounding superstar Michael Jackson with the multiple sexual abuse claims levelled against him, Lionsgate is continuing with a biopic on him and has the blessing of his estate, the studio announced on Wednesday. As per Deadline, the film, titled Michael, will be a great source of money for the King of Pop’s family.
Michael will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, who most recently helmed the Will Smith-starrer Emancipation, while the script will be penned by John Logan. Another big name behind the project is producer Graham King, the Oscar winner behind the 2018 Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. The film grossed over $900 million worldwide and the team hopes to beat that with Michael.
The studio stated that Jackson’s estate will also be involved in the creative decisions in the film, similar to how they were in MJ The Musical. John Branca and John McClain, executors of Jackson’s estate, will co-executive produce the film.
Through the musical, Jackson’s state made $75 million in 2022, making him the sixth highest-paid dead celebrity of the year, according to Forbes.
Jackson got his start in the music industry in his family’s band, the Jackson 5, and eventually became known as the King of Pop for his now-classic hits like Billie Jean and Man In The Mirror. He won 13 Grammy Awards in his life.
While his professional life thrived, there were several abuse complaints against him. Police first investigated Jackson over claims that he sexually abused children in 1993. A decade later he was charged with child molestation, among other crimes, stemming from claims from a then 14-year-old boy who said Jackson masturbated him. In 2005, he was found not guilty of all charges.
Jackson died in 2009 at age 50 from an overdose of propofol, a drug that can cause sleepiness. His estate was sued in 2013 by Wade Robson, and in 2014 by James Safechuck, whose claims of sexual abuse were shown in the HBO documentary, Leaving Neverland. Jackson denied the claims when he was alive and his estate maintains his innocence.