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First look at Michael Jackson biopic

jaafar jackson in michael
First look at Michael Jackson biopicKevin Mazur - Lionsgate

This story discusses topics including child molestation and abuse allegations.

The first look at the Michael Jackson biopic has arrived.

Lionsgate released an image on Tuesday (February 13) of the King of Pop's nephew Jaafar Jackson playing him in the musical drama directed by The Equalizer 3 and Olympus Has Fallen's Antoine Fuqua.

The newly-released picture from Michael was photographed by Kevin Mazur, who documented Jackson's final rehearsal for his 'This Is It' concert residency before the singer died in 2009.

jaafar jackson in michael
Jaafar Jackson in MichaelKevin Mazur - Lionsgate

Jaafar Jackson's casting as his uncle has received the public backing of Michael's mother Katherine Jackson and the musician's estate.

He will star with Euphoria's Colman Domingo and NCIS: Los Angeles's Nia Long, who will be playing Michael's parents Joe and Katherine Jackson. Top Gun: Maverick's Miles Teller has been cast as Michael's long-time manager John Branca.

Jackson was one of the biggest-selling music stars in history, having sold more than 400 million albums and scoring 13 number-one singles on the Billboard chart. He received 6 Brit Awards, 15 Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe Award throughout his life and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his solo work and The Jackson Five.

The singer faced several significant legal issues throughout the later years of his life, including being accused of sexually abusing a child in 1993.

michael jackson in 1986
KMazur - Getty Images

Jackson would never be criminally charged over the allegation, but he did reach an out-of-court multimillion-dollar settlement with the family in early 1994.

Nearly a decade later, Jackson was investigated by Santa Barbara, California, police following the airing of Martin Bashir's fly-on-the-wall documentary Living with Michael Jackson, where he was shown holding hands with a 12-year-old boy and discussing their sleeping arrangements.

In December 2003, the singer was formally charged with multiple counts of child molestation and intoxicating a minor with alcoholic drinks. Jackson pleaded not guilty and was ultimately acquitted on all counts by a jury.

Jackson died in June 2009 from an an overdose of propofol that was administered by his doctor Conrad Murray, who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter for his part in the musician's death.

Following Jackson's death, choreographer Wade Robson and James Safechuck filed lawsuits over allegations that he'd sexually abused them when they were children.

michael jackson at 1993 superbowl
Steve Granitz - Getty Images

While both lawsuits were dismissed due to time limitations, the pair shared their stories in the 2019 HBO documentary series Leaving Neverland — which led to a lawsuit between Jackson's estate and HBO over claims that the channel had violated a non-disparagement clause signed between the two parties in 1992.

Leaving Neverland would ultimately win both a British Academy Television Award and a Primetime Emmy Award in the factual/documentary categories.

Jackson always denied that he had any improper relationships with children and his estate has maintained that stance following his death.

Michael will be released in US and UK cinemas on April 18, 2025.


Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 (www.nspcc.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline on (1-800-422-4453) or the American SPCC (www.americanspcc.org).

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