Taika Waititi's Michael Jackson movie 'Bubbles' is a LONG way off

Tom Butler
UK Movies Editor
Bubbles with Jackson in the 1980s

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ director Taika Waititi says his movie about Michael Jackson’s pet chimpanzee Bubbles will take about 5 years to make, which means we may have to wait until 2022 for its release.

The Kiwi director, who signed up to co-direct ‘Bubbles’ with ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ animation director Mark Gustafson, tells Yahoo Movies he’ll work on the stop-motion film “on the side” for Netflix, while continuing to direct live action projects.

Netflix is said to have paid around $20m (£15m) for ‘Bubbles‘ at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

“[‘Bubbles’] is just such a big departure from [‘Thor: Ragnarok’],” Waititi explains.

“Just to do something that’s very unique and artistic – not that [‘Thor’] isn’t artistic – but just something that takes some time and has a real human touch attached to it. Stop motion is just that very cool, pure human art form. It’s just something that I feel like I can have on the going on the side as I do other films, because it’s going to be going for five years or something.”

Netflix and Chimp.

‘Bubbles’, written by Isaac Adamson, topped Hollywood’s “Black List” of the best unproduced screenplays back in 2015. Told from the perspective of the chimpanzee adopted by Michael Jackson in the 1980s, the story “details his life within The King of Pop’s inner circle through the scandals that later rocked Jackson’s life”.

Waititi says stop motion seemed to be the most natural way of approaching the “weird” story.

Taika Waititi poses in front of a poster for “Thor: Ragnarok”. (EFE/ Regi Varghese)

“It was originally a live action script, and when I read it years ago, I thought that I didn’t want to make this as a live action, because there’s something very weird about that idea, it just seemed very hard” the director tells us.

“Then Dan Harmon and Starburns Industries who made ‘Anomalisa’ got their hands on it, and thought, lets make it our next stop-motion. I’m co-directing with Mark Gustafson who was the animator on ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’, and that makes me very happy, the idea of it.”

Waititi recently told Digital Spy the film would be “respectful” of Michael Jackson’s legacy.

Bubbles, now 34, once lived in Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, reportedly sleeping in a crib in the singer’s room and using the King of Pop’s own toilet, but was eventually released into an Florida ape sanctuary in 2005 after growing too aggressive for Jackson’s young family.

The chimp recently became a recognised artist after some of his paintings were displayed at a Miami art exhibition ‘Apes That Paint’. His paintings has sold for up to $1,500 in the past.

Taika Waititi’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ arrives in UK cinemas today.


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