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Nine-year old Juliano Krue Valdi has won the role to play young Michael Jackson in Lionsgate and UIP’s Antoine Fuqua-directed Michael.
Valdi will play the young Jackson as he and his brothers rise to fame as the Jackson 5, the singing group behind such hits as “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “I’ll Be There.”
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“When Michael was very young – 11 years old – he astounded the world, possessing the spirit and talent of an adult. He was truly an old soul. He and Juliano have that in common,” said Graham King. “Beyond being a phenomenal young talent, Juliano is deeply inspired by Michael and his music, and has managed to translate that inspiration into a presence and performance that captures the true magic of young Michael Jackson.”
Fuqua added, “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.”
Valdi said, “This opportunity is really important to me because Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, and he is very special in my heart. I’ve been dancing to his songs for five years now. He makes me feel really special and makes me feel good about myself. I love the energy of Michael Jackson.”
Jackson’s nephew Jaafar Jackson has already been set to play his uncle, the King of Pop; the pic is rolling cameras next week for an April 18, 2025 global day-and-date theatrical release.
Three-time Oscar nominee John Logan penned the screenplay for Michael.
Michael, which is being made with the singer’s estate, is being billed to deliver the portrait of a complicated man and his ascent to global fame, and the triumphs and tragedies surrounding his humanity and creative genius.
Michael is produced by King and the co-executors of the Michael Jackson estate, John Branca and John McClain. Lionsgate has domestic on the movie with Universal Pictures International handling overseas sans Japan, which Lionsgate will oversee.
Valdi is repped by Tanesia Tramell at Eleven 7 Artist Management, Paradigm Talent Agency and attorneys Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller, Gellman, Meigs & Fox.
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