“Michael Jackson’s This Is It” rehearsal footage film opens a less than a week from now, but it’s biggest curators and those closest to its creation can’t wait to surprise the pop star’s fans.
Longtime MJ collaborator, friend and choreographer of the “This Is It” live event Travis Payne confirmed that a new music and dance number, dubbed “Drill,” was included in the original imagining of the concert and will appear in the film. View a portion of the scene below.
“Michael was a fan of the military,” Payne said in a press conference today (Oct. 21) in New York. Seventy people were in the crew for what would be a 50-date production at London’s O2 arena this summer, including 11 dancers, two aerialists, eight band members, four backup singers, a 25-person choir, loads of drummers and even puppeteers — and Jackson wanted the “best military” he could muster, Payne recalled.
Movie-goers who watch “This Is It” may also notice camera crew in the film who are shooting with special cameras, for 3-D, which were part of another film project. “Thriller,” “Man in the Mirror” and “Earth Song” were and are all getting a makeover, said director Kenny Ortega — from the dance moves to the costumes. The release for this series of clips were not given an ETA.
However, for those who were blacked out of buying tickets for “This Is It” in the theaters — which runs for two weeks only starting Oct. 28 — a DVD version of the film will be coming out next year. “They might do an enhanced or a bigger version of [‘This Is It’] one day, but the DVD that’s coming out has tremendous, weighty, additional footage. I’ve seen it and it’s powerful and emotional and moving and fantastic. I would hope that does the trick, personally.”
Around 80 hours of footage of the “This Is It” concert was shot, Ortega said. “Part of it was behind the scenes extensive interviews with everybody and part of it was the cameras that were capturing rehearsals that were being used for Michael and my reference that we could go back and use as a tool to learn by.”
As for all in attendance at the press event, including “This Is It” musical director Michael Bearden, it seemed everyone thought Jackson was capable of pulling off the 50 dates in front of him. In fact, said Bearden, “he wanted to do more than 50,” and even mentioned he was considering a two or three year run of concerts.
What was frequently mentioned, too, was the King of Pop’s passion for the environment and for positive thinking, of “healing the world.” The “This Is It” concert event was not only going to be Jackson’s curtain call, but was, what he hoped, a turning point for audiences, to go out and make a positive impact on society after seeing the show.
“He was a father, he was more passionate about things in his life, like all the things that sound corny to people, like love, peace, how we treat people… like the earth, like ‘if we don’t reverse this thing with global warming’… he was the kindest and gentlest artist I ever worked with,” Bearden said. “He’d actually say please and thank you.”