A new Michael Jackson biopic is in the works at Lionsgate. It will be produced by Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King and directed by Antoine Fuqua, from a script courtesy of John Logan.
Michael Jackson’s estate co-executors, John Branca and John McClain, are also producing.
“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.”
Although Lionsgate has said the film will cover all aspects of Jackson’s life, it’s unclear whether the film will cover the allegations against him. Jackson has been accused of sexually abusing children with Leaving Neverland, a 2019 documentary, having brought these allegations back into the public consciousness after Jackson’s death in 2009.
Fuqua’s last film, Emancipation, went straight to AppleTV+ and was largely criticised for its portrayal of slavery. A Michael Jackson biopic is Fuqua’s chance to be back in with the crème de la crème of Hollywood.
Music biopics have done very well financially in recent years. Austin Butler just won a Golden Globe for his performance as Elvis and the film grossed $287.3 million globally. Despite Naomie Ackie’s critically acclaimed performance, Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody has done less well at the box office, earning a measly $49.2 million globally.