According to Variety, the forthcoming movie – titled Michael – is being made with the blessing of the Michael Jackson estate. The screenplay is written by John Logan (Gladiator, Skyfall), who previously worked with King on Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator (2004).
John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of Jackson’s estate, will produce the biopic alongside King, the latter of whom first met the Jackson family in 1981. Lionsgate will distribute Michael globally.
“I’m humbled to bring their legacy to the big screen,” King explained. “Sitting at Dodger Stadium watching the Victory Tour, I could never have imagined that nearly 38 years later I would get the privilege to be a part of this film.”
Per a press release, “Michael will give audiences an in-depth portrayal of the complicated man who became the King of Pop. It will bring to life Jackson’s most iconic performances as it gives an informed insight into the entertainer’s artistic process and personal life.”
The late singer’s mother, Katherine Jackson, said: “Ever since Michael was little, as a member of The Jackson 5, he loved the magic of cinema. As a family, we are honoured to have our life story come alive on the big screen.”
The involvement of Jackson’s estate in the project suggests that the movie won’t deal with the allegations of child sexual abuse that were levelled against the singer during his career and after his death in 2009.
Back in 2019, the four-hour documentary Leaving Neverland included testimony from James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who both claimed they were sexually abused by Jackson as children in the 1990s.
Michael Jackson denied any wrongdoing prior to his death aged 50.
It was reported in November 2019 that Graham King had secured the rights to make a film about Jackson’s life and career. At the time, it was said that the movie was not “intended to be a sanitised rendering of Jackson’s life”.