Universal has taken the international rights to Michael Jackson’s biopic, Michael.
Lionsgate is behind the project, which will be directed by Antoine Fuqua. Jackson‘s nephew Jaafar Jackson will play him in the biopic about the singer’s life. The Universal deal encompasses all international rights, excluding Japan.
Graham King, a seasoned hand at biopics with the Oscar-winning Queen film Bohemian Rhapsody under his belt, is producing along with John Branca and John McClain, who are the co-executors of the Michael Jackson estate. John Logan, who penned Gladiator and The Aviator, wrote the script.
According to Lionsgate, the film will address all aspects of Jackson’s life, though it is unclear how it will address the many controversies involving the late music icon, given that the biopic is being made in conjunction with his estate, which has defended him against accusations of sexually abusing children. Those accusations were returned to the public discourse thanks to the 2019 HBO documentary Leaving Neverland.
“Michael’s decades-long career left an indelible mark on the way audiences experience entertainment all over the world,” said Joe Drake, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group. “We are thrilled to be partnering with our friends at Universal to give global audiences new insight into the complex life of one of the most prolific artists the world has ever known.”
Production on Michael is planned to continue right after the SAG-AFTRA strikes conclude.