Michael Jackson’s nephew Jaafar Jackson will play the “King of Pop” in the upcoming biopic “Michael.” “I’m humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life,” Jackson wrote on Monday in an Instagram post. “To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon.”
Some fans have remarked on the 26-year-old’s striking similarities to the famed singer. The Jackson 5’s official Instagram account called him “endlessly talented” and said the group is “very excited for the world to see what we’ve seen for many years!”
Director Antoine Fuqua said he was proud to announce Jackson’s role in what he called “the motion picture event that explores the journey of the man who became the King of Pop.”
Written by Tony-winning playwright John Logan and produced by Graham King, who worked on the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the film is just one of many productions about the legendary but controversial pop singer, who died in 2009 at 50. Whether the biopic will delve into the sexual assault allegations Michael Jackson repeatedly faced remains unclear.
A 2022 press release from Lionsgate said the film would offer “an in-depth portrayal of the complicated man” and “informed insight” into his personal life. But the Michael Jackson estate, which has denied any wrongdoing by Jackson, will be involved in the production, raising questions about how far the story will go. (The singer also denied allegations and was acquitted on four counts of molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2005.)
The 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which told the story of two men who said they were molested by Jackson in the late ’80s and early ’90s, brought renewed attention to the claims.
Last year, the Broadway musical “MJ” debuted, returning some of the shine to the singer. The production, which steered away from more fraught moments of Jackson’s life, racked up four Tony awards, including best actor in a musical for Myles Frost’s role as Jackson. It has grossed $85 million, according to Broadway World.
Jaafar Jackson’s role will be his first in a major film. In 2019, he released a music video, “Got Me Singing,” which showcases his dance moves.
Involved in music since he was 12, Jackson has said he grew up with dreams of becoming a professional golfer, but the pull of his family’s legacy proved too strong. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, he recalled performing the Jackson 5’s “Touch” in his living room and his interest growing from there.
In the same interview, he acknowledged that music is “what I was born into” but said he hoped to forge his own identity: “The more music I release with time, and the more I tour the world, people will be able to recognize me for who I am and what I create.”