It was just confirmed that Jaafar Jackson will play his uncle, Michael Jackson, in an upcoming biopic from Lionsgate.
Jaafar is the 26-year-old nephew of the late pop icon, who died in 2009. His father is Michael’s brother and former member of The Jackson 5, Jermaine Jackson.
Details about the project have slowly been emerging. It will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, who also headed up “Emancipation,” and the script will be written by John Logan, per Deadline. Producer Graham King is known for making the Freddie Mercury biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Under King, that film went on to gross $900 million worldwide and earned an Academy Award nomination for “Best Picture,” and a “Best Actor” win for star Rami Malek.
Jaafar announced his casting news via social media, writing, “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.”
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 Michael’s mother, Katherine Jackson, per The Guardian.
Deadline noted that the film would reportedly cover the many controversies of Michael’s life, including accusations of child sex abuse and his drug use, which eventually led to his death from acute propofol intoxication.
There is speculation about how true to life Michael Jackson’s biopic will be considering that his estate currently retains music rights to his catalog of work. The biopic is being made with the estate’s cooperation. That means King and Fuqua will need to portray the King of Pop in an honest yet forgiving light to appease fans, his estate, and moviegoers looking to learn the true story.
Jackson maintained he was innocent until his death. He was found not guilty of child molestation following a trial in 2005.
However, film creators would be wise to note the criticism heaped on the recent Broadway musical “MJ,” which detailed the pop star’s life but didn’t cover any negative aspects such as child sex abuse allegations.
One review called the musical a “slick, crotch-grabbing sidestep” that was also presented in conjunction with the late singer’s estate, as The Daily Wire previously reported.