An upcoming Michael Jackson biopic has found its star in the controversial singer’s nephew, Jaafar Jackson, according to Deadline. The film is to be directed by Antoine Fuqua, who most recently directed the Will Smith movie Emancipation and posted the confirmation on Instagram.
Michael is being produced by the Jackson estate and Graham King, who also produced the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. That film grossed over $900 million worldwide and was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Star Rami Malek won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.
Jaafar Jackson is the son of Michael’s older brother Jermaine and is a singer and songwriter in his own right.
The bio has a tricky narrative needle to thread. Obviously, the estate’s involvement offers a layer of authenticity, especially as the estate controls the rights to Jackson’s catalog. However, the estate is also notoriously protective of the late star’s image; this leads to questions of how his more controversial aspects may be depicted.
If the producers decide to delve deeply into the child sexual abuse accusations against Jackson, they might have to do so without the family’s approval — and thus, without the singer’s music. However, judging from the reception of past biopics (they are all the rage right now, aren’t they?), if those thorny topics are avoided, the film could face greater scrutiny and criticism.
Hopefully, Fuqua will be up to the task. For now, he’s focusing on The Equalizer 3 with Denzel Washington.