Director Antoine Fuqua is set to helm a long-awaited biopic about Michael Jackson.
On Wednesday, Deadline confirmed that Fuqua — who directed films like “Training Day,” “The Equalizer” franchise and “Emancipation”— is joining forces with Lionsgate to bring the upcoming project “Michael,” about the “King of Pop,” to life.
Although no official plot summary has been released yet, the film will chronicle the icon’s life and career, including his early success with the Jackson 5, his most legendary performances and his untimely death.
The pop star who earned unprecedented achievements during his lifetime, such as becoming the first Black singer to break into the regular rotation of music videos on MTV, died in 2009 at age 50 from a sedative-induced cardiac arrest.
The film’s development was first announced in 2019. Last June, TJ Jackson, the son of Michael’s brother Tito, told the Daily Mirror that the film is “going to happen,” adding that the biopic was necessary to reframe the “awful” allegations against the “Thriller” singer.
The highly-anticipated flick will “deal squarely with the pedophile accusations that dogged his later years,” according to Deadline. Jackson was accused of molesting young boys as early as 1993, and denied the sexual abuse allegations until his death nearly 15 years ago.
HBO’s 2019 docuseries “Leaving Neverland” featured two of his alleged victims, and revived the allegations of sexual abuse against the entertainer. The singer’s estate has denounced the documentary and called the allegations “absolutely false,” insisting his innocence.
Produced by Graham King (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) and written by three-time Oscar nominee John Logan (“Gladiator” and “The Aviator”), the film will also be made in conjunction with the singer’s estate with co-executors John Branca and John McClain.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about his inspiration for taking the reins on the massive project, Fuqua said, “The first films of my career were music videos, and I still feel that combining film and music are a deep part of who I am. For me, there is no artist with the power, the charisma, and the sheer musical genius of Michael Jackson. I was influenced to make music videos by watching his work.”
“His music and those images are part of my worldview, and the chance to tell his story on the screen alongside his music was irresistible,” he added.
“Michael” is expected to begin filming this year, but no casting announcements have been made yet about who will portray the superstar musician.