When will the Michael Jackson biopic be released?

The controversial King of Pop is getting the biopic treatment…

Michael Jackson (Credit: Getty)
Michael Jackson's life will soon get its own movie. (Credit: Getty)

Michael Jackson’s life story is getting the biopic treatment from the people behind Bohemian Rhapsody and will soon be heading to cinemas, with filmmaker Antoine Fuqua’s Michael setting its sights on a spring 2025 release.

The life and times of the controversial King of Pop have been largely covered in the mainstream media already, with Jackson’s intense child stardom, multiple mega-hits, rise to musical icon status and troubling personal issues being covered in a range of different media outlets — some with a positive tilt, others with downright damning agendas.

However, Fuqua’s upcoming movie Michael aims to take a level-headed look at the complicated man behind the music, lining up someone with direct links to Jackson to play the leading role.

Here’s everything we know about it so far.

When will the Michael Jackson biopic be released?

Antoine Fuqua will direct Michael. (WireImage)
Antoine Fuqua will direct Michael. (WireImage)

Fuqua’s Michael Jackson biopic Michael officially began production in January 2024 with an American theatrical release set for Friday, 18 April, 2025. It’s currently unclear whether the movie will receive a similar release in the United Kingdom.

In a statement accompanying this news, Fuqua said: “I’m so honoured to tell Michael’s story. It’s been a long journey and I’m excited for the film to show audiences around the world a perspective of Michael that they’ve never seen.”

Fuqua has previously directed films like Training Day and The Equalizer, both with Denzel Washington.

Who is starring in the Michael Jackson biopic?

Jaafar Jackson will portray his uncle Michael in Fuqua's movie. (Invision/AP)
Jaafar Jackson will portray his uncle Michael in Fuqua's movie. (Invision/AP)

Jackson’s 27-year-old nephew Jaafar Jackson will be stepping into his uncle’s moonwalking shoes to bring us his life story, from youth to adulthood.

Speaking about the casting, Fuqua explained that he was blown away by just how many similarities Jaafar shares with his famous relative. “It’s uncanny how much he’s like Michael… Sounds like him, dances like him, sings. It’s really uncanny,” the director told Entertainment Weekly. “Graham King, who is a fantastic producer, found him, and introduced him to me, and I was blown away.”

(L-R) Tito Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson and Jackie Jackson of The Jacksons pose during a publicity photo shoot after the band signed to Epic Records, at Jackie Jackson's home on August 17, 1978 in Westlake Village, California. (Photo by Gregg Cobarr/WireImage)
The Jacksons in 1978: Tito Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson and Jackie Jackson. (Gregg Cobarr/WireImage)

Jaafar is the son of Michael’s sibling and Jackson 5 bandmate, Jermaine Jackson, and has been dancing and performing since he was 12 years old.

Joining Jaafar will be nine-year-old newcomer Juliano Krue Valdi who will portray Jackson as a child, taking viewers through his jump to stardom via the Jackson 5.

“When Michael was very young – eleven years old – he astounded the world, possessing the spirit and talent of an adult. He was truly an old soul. He and Juliano have that in common,” said King, the movie's producer.

“Beyond being a phenomenal young talent, Juliano is deeply inspired by Michael and his music, and has managed to translate that inspiration into a presence and performance that captures the true magic of young Michael Jackson.”

Speaking about the casting, Fuqua explained: “If anything, casting the role of the young Michael was more difficult than casting the adult role, because where do you find a child actor with the chops of the greatest entertainer who ever lived? In the end, that was our focus – talent – and we looked far and wide for an actor who could embody Michael’s spirit through his voice, his charisma, and his dance skills. Juliano’s undeniable, raw talent put him at the top of our list.”

US actor Colman Domingo arrives for the 75th Emmy Awards at the Peacock Theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on January 15, 2024. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Colman Domingo will play Michael Jackson's father Joe Jackson. (Getty Images)

Oscar-nominated Rustin star Colman Domingo will take on the role of Michael's controversial father Joe Jackson. Over the years, much has been written about how Joe's harsh and allegedly physically violent temperament affected both Michael's career and personal life.

"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," explained Domingo on joining Fuqua's film.

"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."

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 24:  Nia Long attends the 22nd Annual Reel Works ChangeMaker Gala at The Ziegfeld Ballroom on May 24, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
You People star Nia Long will play Michael's mother Katherine Jackson. (Getty Images)

Known for her roles in Boyz n the Hood and more recently Netflix comedy You People, actor Nia Long also joins Fuqua's project as Michael's mother Katherine Jackson.

“Nia has delivered iconic performances throughout her career,” said Fuqua, announcing the news. “I’ve been a fan for a long time because her characters stay with you. I’m excited to now work alongside her as she pours all of that into Katherine Jackson: a woman who was the glue, the rock, and the heart of the Jackson family during its best and its most turbulent times.”

Nia also commented on stepping into the shoes of this important figure in Michael's life. “Katherine Jackson is an incredible pillar of strength and grace for the entire Jackson family,” said Long. “As a mother, she was selfless and endured forces beyond her control yet still managed to help build a legacy beyond measure.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 24: Larenz Tate visits SiriusXM Studios on May 24, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images)
Larenz Tate will play Motown Records founder Berry Gordy in Michael. (Getty Images)

With much of Fuqua’s film taking place during the peak of Motown, a number of key players from that enduring musical scene are set to appear.

As first reported by Variety, Larenz Tate will play Motown Records founder Berry Gordy who was influential in shaping key records from the likes of the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Temptations and Diana Ross & The Supremes.

Speaking of which, Love in the Villa star Kat Graham will play Ross, the iconic singer who introduced the Jackson 5 to audiences and remained one of Michael’s lifelong friends.

Kat Graham at Essence Black Women in Hollywood held at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on March 7, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images)
Kat Graham will play Diana Ross. (Getty Images)

We also know which stars will be playing members of Jackson’s family as well as his close-knit circle of friends, with Split's Jessica Sula playing Michael's older sister La Toya Jackson, Liv Symone playing singer Gladys Knight and KeiLyn Durrel Jones set to portray Jackson's security guard turned confidant Bill Bray.

Kevin Shinick will play American TV host Dick Clark and Kendrick Sampson will play Quincy Jones, the renowned record producer who first met the singer when he was just 12 years old and went on to produce three of his hit records Thriller, Off The Wall and Bad.

What is the plot of the Michael Jackson biopic?

The Jackson 5 performing on The Flip Wilson Show
The Jackson 5 performing on The Flip Wilson Show. (Getty Images)

Jackson’s life in the public eye has already been covered in extensive detail, with tabloids, documentaries and TV programmes focusing on both his stardom and immense contribution to music alongside some of the more questionable areas of Jackson’s alleged personal affairs and out-there lifestyle.

Fuqua’s movie is being made with the help of Graham King, the same guy who produced Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody biopic, and co-executors of the Michael Jackson estate are included among its list of producers.

LONDON - 1987: Music star Michael Jackson performs during the Bad Tour in 1987 at Wembley Stadium, in London. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
Michael Jackson performing during the Bad Tour in 1987 at Wembley Stadium. (Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

According to reports, Michael will focus on “the complicated man who becomes the King of Pop, from triumphs to tragedies, from his human side and personal struggles to his creative genius” — but don’t expect it to shy away from the more headline-grabbing side of Jackson’s life.

According to the director, his film will chronicle Jackson’s life and career “as we know it” and will touch upon “the good, bad and the ugly” moments that he encountered whilst in the public eye. “Just to tell the facts as we know it,” explains Fuqua, “about the artist, about the man, about the human being.”

Is there a trailer for the Michael Jackson biopic?

There’s no trailer available for Michael just yet.

Michael will be released in American cinemas on Friday, 18 April, 2025.