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Colman Domingo to Play Michael Jackson’s Father Joe in “Michael” Biopic

Newly Academy Award-nominated ‘Rustin’ star Colman Domingo will portray the “rich, complex and flawed character” of Joe Jackson

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty Images; Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic</p> (Left to right:) Colman Domingo; Joe Jackson

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images; Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic

(Left to right:) Colman Domingo; Joe Jackson

Fresh off his Oscar nomination, Colman Domingo is ready to play another famous figure.

The Rustin star is set to portray the late Joe Jackson in the upcoming Michael Jackson biopic Michael, Lionsgate and Universal Pictures International announced Thursday via a press release.

Scheduled for release April 18, 2025, the biographical film will star the King of Pop’s nephew Jaafar Jackson in the title role. Domingo, 54, joins him as Michael’s father Joe, who managed the Jackson 5 and daughters Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet from the 1960s through the ’80s.

Related: Remembering Michael Jackson's Life in Photos

“I’m excited to be a part of a film that explores both the complicated soul of the legendary Michael Jackson as well as his impact on music and culture as a global icon,” Domingo said in the press release.

He continued, “Not only am I fortunate to have a rich, complex and flawed character to portray in Joe Jackson, but I also have a front row seat for Jaafar’s incredible transformation. After seeing him in rehearsal, my mind was blown. There is something divine about the way that Jaafar is channeling his late uncle. His talent and embodiment of Michael’s essence is simply on another level.”

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<p>Truscello/WireImage</p> Joe Jackson in 2009

Truscello/WireImage

Joe Jackson in 2009

Related: How Colman Domingo’s Late Mother Helped Him Bond with Oprah Winfrey: ‘It’s Magically Eerie’ (Exclusive)

“Few actors present themselves with Colman’s screen presence and force of will,” said the film’s producer Graham King. “We're so fortunate to have an actor with his undeniable talent portraying Joe Jackson on screen. We couldn't be more excited to have him join us on this journey.”

Directing the biopic is Antoine Fuqua, who in the statement commended Domingo’s “incredible range” as an actor. “He puts in the work to deeply inhabit his characters and understand their true essence and motivation. I’m grateful to be working with an actor with his passion and ability to portray the many sides of Joe Jackson: a husband, a father and a manager.”

In an interview with EW, the filmmaker said he was "blown away" by Jaafar's portrayal of his uncle. “It's uncanny how much he's like Michael," he said. "Sounds like him, dances like him, sings. It's really uncanny."

Jaafar is the son of Jermaine, who performed alongside brothers Jackie, Tito, Marlon and Michael for years. Their father Joe booked the Jackson 5 a recording contract with Motown Records in 1969 which launched them to superstardom. Prior to managing his children, Joe was a boxer and guitarist. He died in 2018.

<p>NETFLIX</p> Colman Domingo in "Rustin"

NETFLIX

Colman Domingo in "Rustin"

Related: Rustin True Story: All About Bayard Rustin, the Real-Life Activist Portrayed in Netflix Film

After winning an Emmy for his performance on Euphoria and notching further accolades for his work in Zola and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Domingo became one of the first-timers among the 2024 Oscar nominations. For playing civil rights activist Bayard Rustin in the Barack- and Michelle Obama-produced Rustin, the actor will face off in the leading actor category alongside Bradley Cooper of Maestro, Paul Giamatti of The Holdovers, Cillian Murphy of Oppenheimer and Jeffrey Wright of American Fiction

On Thursday, Variety reported that Domingo was “waiting around for a certain call” — from President Obama — following the news of his Oscar nomination. Obama, he said, congratulated the actor and said, “Enjoy this moment. Enjoy every step of this. It’s a wonderful thing. Have fun.”

Domingo also starred in the recent movie musical The Color Purple. He will next appear on the big screen in Ethan Coen’s Drive-Away Dolls, in theaters Feb. 23. 

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