Lionsgate's upcoming Michael Jackson biopic is set to be a family affair, with the late King of Pop's nephew Jaafar Jackson playing the lead role — and director Antoine Fuqua says the resemblance is "uncanny."
During a recent interview with EW, the Equalizer 3 filmmaker declared that he was "blown away" by how Jaafar, the 27-year-old son of Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson, channels his famous uncle.
"It's uncanny how much he's like Michael," Fuqua said. "Sounds like him, dances like him, sings. It's really uncanny. Graham King, who is a fantastic producer, found him, and introduced him to me, and I was blown away."
Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images; Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images Jaafar Jackson and Michael Jackson
The biopic, which is titled Michael and currently on hold amid the writers' and actors' strikes, will tell Jackson's story "as we know it," Fuqua said, suggesting that it would not shy away from the pop superstar's checkered past and complicated legacy. Jackson was embroiled in child sexual abuse allegations during the 1990s, all of which he denied. He went to trial for sexual molestation and was acquitted in 2005. He died at 50 in 2009, from cardiac arrest caused by a drug overdose.
Asked about his approach to the film, which is being made with the cooperation of Jackson's estate, Fuqua said, "Just to tell the facts as we know it, about the artist, about the man, about the human being. You know, the good, bad, and the ugly."
Michael will feature a screenplay by John Logan, who penned Skyfall, Gladiator, and The Aviator. The biopic marks Jaafar Jackson's first major film role.
With reporting from Clark Collis.