Everything to Know About the Michael Jackson Biopic

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The biopic will star Michael Jackson's nephew Jaafar as the King of Pop

<p>Kevin Mazur/WireImage</p>

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The story of Michael Jackson’s life and career is being adapted for the big screen.

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

Since then, more details have been announced about the project, including the actor playing the titular role. Stepping into the iconic shoes of the musician is Jackson’s own nephew Jaafar Jackson, who is the son of Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson.

The film comes on the heels of the success of Broadway‘s MJ: The Musical, which chronicles the "Bad" singer’s creative process, focusing on his preparation for his 1992 Dangerous World Tour. The show, which scored four Tony Awards in 2022, premiered in Februray 2022 with Myles Frost and kicked off its first national tour in August 2023 with Roman Wellington Banks.

From the release date to the cast, here’s everything to know about Michael.

Related: Michael Jackson's 3 Kids: All About Prince, Paris and Bigi

Who is in the cast of the Michael Jackson biopic?

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

Jackson’s 27-year-old nephew Jaafar is set to play him in the new movie. "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 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."

In January 2024, Lionsgate announced that 9-year-old Juliano Krue Valdi had been cast to portray a young Jackson, since 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.

Towards the end of the month, it was announced that Oscar-nominated, Rustin actor Colman Domingo was cast as 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.

Of playing the iconic role, Domingo said in a statement, “I’m excited to be a part of a film that explores both the complicated soul of the legendary Michael Jackson as well as his impact on music and culture as a global icon.

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.”

What will the Michael Jackson biopic be about?

<p>Fin Costello/Redferns</p> Tito, Jackie, Michael, Jermaine and Marlon Jackson of Jackson 5.

Fin Costello/Redferns

Tito, Jackie, Michael, Jermaine and Marlon Jackson of Jackson 5.

According to the film’s official synopsis, “Michael will bring audiences a riveting and honest portrayal of the brilliant yet complicated man who became the King of Pop.”

“The film presents his triumphs and tragedies on an epic, cinematic scale — from his human side and personal struggles to his undeniable creative genius, exemplified by his most iconic performances,” the statement continues. “As never before, audiences will experience an inside look into one of the most influential, trailblazing artists the world has ever known.”

The biographical movie is set to cover all aspects of the singer’s life, however, it is currently unknown whether the film will address Jackson's controversies including allegations of child sex abuse levied against Jackson that were most recently publicly detailed in the 2019 documentary film Leaving Neverland.

Who is directing the Michael Jackson biopic?

<p>Vivien Killilea/Getty Images</p>

Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

The film will be helmed by Antoine Fuqua, who is best known for directing The Equalizer trilogy, Southpaw, Emancipation and several critically acclaimed documentaries such as What's My Name: Muhammad Ali and Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers.

“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,” said Fuqua in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “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 — the first Black artist to play in heavy rotation on MTV. 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.”

The film will be written by Oscar nominee and Tony winner John Logan and produced by Graham King, who previously worked on the Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody. King will producing along with John Branca and John McClain, who are the co-executors of the Michael Jackson estate.

What has Michael Jackson’s family said about the Michael Jackson biopic?

<p>Dave Hogan/Getty</p> Jermaine Jackson and Katherine Jackson during an announcement of the upcoming Jackson family reunion special "Jackson Family Honors" on August 30th 1993.

Dave Hogan/Getty

Jermaine Jackson and Katherine Jackson during an announcement of the upcoming Jackson family reunion special "Jackson Family Honors" on August 30th 1993.

In addition to having Jackson’s estate involved as producers, the movie has already gotten the seal of approval from those closest to the singer, including his mother Katherine, who said that Jaafar "embodies" her son.

"It's so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers," she told The Hollywood Reporter.

When does filming begin for the Michael Jackson biopic?

Steve Granitz/ WireImage/ Getty Images Michael Jackson performs at the Super Bowl XXVII Halftime show at the Rose Bowl on January 31, 1993 in Pasadena, California.
Steve Granitz/ WireImage/ Getty Images Michael Jackson performs at the Super Bowl XXVII Halftime show at the Rose Bowl on January 31, 1993 in Pasadena, California.

According to a press release shared by Lionsgate on Jan. 18, 2024, filming for principal photography is expected to begin the week of Jan. 22.

When will the Michael Jackson biopic be released?

<p>FRANCIS Sylvain/AFP via Getty</p>

FRANCIS Sylvain/AFP via Getty

The film will be released worldwide on April 18, 2025.

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