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See the Michael Jackson Biopic Cast, Side by Side with the Real People

Here are the actors playing the Jackson family and those closest to the King of Pop in the new biopic

<p>Kevin Mazur/Lionsgate; Pete Still/Redferns</p>

Kevin Mazur/Lionsgate; Pete Still/Redferns

The cast of the Michael Jackson biopic has big shoes to fill.

In January 2023, it was announced that Lionsgate was working on a film about the King of Pop, which will simply be titled Michael.

Starring as the late pop singer will be Jackson's own nephew Jaafar Jackson, who is the son of Jermaine Jackson.

"It's incredibly exciting to watch Jaafar bring Michael to life," director Antoine Fuqua said in a statement to Variety. "There was such a spiritual connection when I first met Jaafar, who has a natural ability to emulate Michael and such a great chemistry with the camera."

Jaafar will be joined by a handful of other big stars for the upcoming film, including Oscar-nominee Colman Domingo and Miles Teller. Most recently, Lionsgate unveiled the first look at Jaafar in the film, and the resemblance to his uncle is uncanny.

Here's a look at the cast side by side the real people they'll be playing.

Juliano Krue Valdi as Young Michael Jackson

<p>Courtesy Lionsgate; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty</p>

Courtesy Lionsgate; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

In January 2024, Lionsgate announced that 9-year-old Juliano Krue Valdi will portray a young Jackson as the film covers his rise to fame with his brothers in the Jackson 5.

“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,” Fuqua said of Valdi’s casting. 

Michael will mark Valdi's first feature film role following appearances on shows such as Bite Size Halloween and Face's Music Party, per his IMDb.

Jaafar Jackson as Michael Jackson

Araya Diaz/Getty, Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty
Araya Diaz/Getty, Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty

The late singer’s 27-year-old nephew Jaafar Jackson is set to play him in the new movie. He was selected for the role after a worldwide casting search was conducted, of which producer Graham King said, "It was clear that he is the only person to take on this role."

King added that he was "blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael” and was “beyond thrilled that he has come on board to portray his uncle and cannot wait for the world to see him on the big screen as Michael Jackson."

Though Michael will mark his acting debut, Jaafar is no stranger to the entertainment industry. Jaafar has been singing and dancing since age 12, according to Deadline, and previously appeared in a number of family-oriented projects over the years, including 2015's The Jacksons: Next Generation and Tito Jackson's 2021 music video "Love One Another."

Colman Domingo as Joe Jackson

<p>Unique Nicole/Getty; Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty</p>

Unique Nicole/Getty; Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

Oscar-nominated Rustin actor Colman Domingo is set to play Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson. Producer King said the actor "has such incredible range" and is "grateful to be working" with him on the project.

Domingo has an extensive acting résumé, having appeared in many notable Broadway shows, TV series and films over the years. Most recently, he starred on HBO's Euphoria, which earned him an Emmy for outstanding guest actor in a drama series, and the biographical drama Rustin, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Nia Long as Katherine Jackson

<p>Slaven Vlasic/Getty; Dave Hogan/Getty</p>

Slaven Vlasic/Getty; Dave Hogan/Getty

Playing the Jackson matriarch Katherine Jackson will be Nia Long, who called her character "an incredible pillar of strength and grace for the entire Jackson family."

She added, "As a mother, she was selfless and endured forces beyond her control yet still managed to help build a legacy beyond measure. I am honored to bring her voice to the screen and share Michael Jackson’s story with audiences everywhere."

Like Domingo, Long has had many notable acting roles to date. She first gained prominence for her roles in Boyz n the Hood and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and is well known for her other roles in Friday, The Best Man and Empire.

Miles Teller as John Branca

<p>Paras Griffin/Getty; Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty </p>

Paras Griffin/Getty; Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty

Miles Teller is set to play John Branca, who became Michael's manager after Joe Jackson, and was instrumental in helping launch his early career as a solo artist — notably with the release of "Thriller." Branca is also producing the biopic with John McClain as the co-executors of Jackson’s estate.

Teller first rose to fame with his role in the Divergent film trilogy but gained critical acclaim for his role in Whiplash, which earned him various award nominations. Recently, he garnered worldwide success for his starring role in Top Gun: Maverick alongside Tom Cruise.

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