Michael Jackson is set to be portrayed by his nephew Jaafar Jackson in an upcoming biopic directed by Antoine Fuqua.
The film, titled simply Michael, will be the first major film role for 26-year-old Jaafar, who is the second-youngest son of songwriter and Jackson 5 member Jermaine Jackson, Michael’s older brother. Announcing the role, Jaafar described himself as “humbled and honored”.
I’m humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life. To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon.
Photo by Jourdynn Jackson pic.twitter.com/Xow9Mkakup
— Jaafar Jackson (@JaafarJackson) January 30, 2023
“Jaafar embodies my son. It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers,” said the singer’s mother, Katherine Jackson.
Jackson, who rose from child stardom in his family band the Jackson 5 to be one of the most successful solo artists of all time and dubbed the king of pop, died in 2009 aged 50.
Michael is being made with the cooperation of the Michael Jackson estate, which is likely to influence how the singer’s life is depicted, including whether or not it will touch upon any of the allegations of child sexual abuse that were brought against Jackson both during his life and after his death.
Jackson always maintained his innocence, and was found not guilty of child molestation in 2005.
Graham King, a producer on the film who also produced the Oscar-winning Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, said the team behind the film had searched the world for an actor to play Jackson, before settling on Jaafar.
“I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael,” King said. “It was something so powerful that even after conducting a worldwide search, it was clear that he is the only person to take on this role.”
King is producing Michael with John Branca and John McClain, the co-executors of Jackson’s estate. John Logan, who wrote Gladiator, The Aviator and the James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre, is behind the script.
Fuqua, the film’s director, said Michael “explores the journey of the man who became the King of Pop”, while the film’s studio, Lionsgate, said it would include “his most iconic performances that led him to become the greatest entertainer of all time”.