EXCLUSIVE: Antoine Fuqua will direct Michael, a Lionsgate drama telling the complex life story of iconic singer Michael Jackson. A screenplay is by John Logan, and the film will be produced by Graham King, who turned Freddie Mercury’s story Queen into an Oscar-nominated Best Picture blockbuster. Bohemian Rhapsody. GK Films will produce alongside Jackson Estate co-executors John Branca and John McClain.
Turning Mercury’s complicated rise, fall, and triumphant return into a film that won Best Actor for Rami Malek might have been an easier task than the landmine moonwalk that will have to be done with the story. of Jackson. Anyone who’s seen the work Fuqua did on Will Smith’s star Emancipation might come away thinking he’s peaked as a filmmaker because of his unflinching retelling of an often brutal tale of escaped slave Joseph.
It has long been a passion project for King and Logan, who teamed up on the Howard Hughes film directed by Oscar-nominated Martin Scorsese. the aviator and his race for innovation before his mental illness and germophobic obsessions caught up with him. Sources tell us that the film will undoubtedly make the most of Jackson’s musical accomplishments and recreate highlights of his career beginning with the days he fronted The Jackson 5 as a child through his work of success as the world’s biggest music star as an adult. . But he will also deal squarely with the accusations of pedophilia that ate away at his last years until his death in 2009 at age 50 from cardiac arrest brought on by a cocktail of sedatives.
Things are moving fast Michael. Fuqua is currently finishing Equalizer 3 with Denzel Washington in Italy, and then he’ll turn his attention to this one. Production will begin later this year, and we’ve heard that Fuqua will write his Emancipation and Equalizer 3 cinematographer Robert Richardson to be by his side.
The hope is that Michael will be a global juggernaut like Bohemian Rhapsody, which has grossed over $900 million worldwide and created a new appetite for Queen’s music. Lionsgate has global rights here, but will seek an offshore partner, and we’ve heard Sony is squarely in on it. This studio became a successful 2009 docu That’s itconsisting of footage of Jackson rehearsing for a series of concerts in London upon his death.
Jackson’s emergence as the King of Pop was filled with unprecedented accomplishments, including truly being the first black singer to break MTV’s regular video rotation; her introduction to the moonwalk performing “Billie Jean” on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever television special in 1983; the incredible production values of the videos for “Thriller”, “Billie Jean” and other songs; and set all kinds of sales records and accolades.
On the other side of the coin, Jackson grew up bullied by his father Joe, the overbearing Jackson 5 manager who drove his children harshly when they emerged from Gary, Indiana to become pop sensations. when they were children, anchored by the golden voice of Michael. Michael Jackson enhanced his career as he reached adulthood, but with it came odd behavior that included young boys’ sleepovers at his Neverland Ranch. Long dismissed as some kind of Peter Pan syndrome, the habit took on a more sinister overtone when some of the boys claimed they had been assaulted, with a litany of legal action. There was also plastic surgery, which radically transformed her face. We’ve heard theories that Jackson’s motivation could have been a wish that he didn’t see any resemblance to his father when he looked in the mirror, but part of that certainly came about after he suffered damage. when it was set on fire in a pyrotechnic malfunction during filming. from a 1984 Pepsi ad that required reconstructive scalp surgeries and was his introduction to painkillers.
Just like the recent Whitney Houston movie I want to dance with someone and the film directed by Baz Luhrmann Elvis (the latter building on the singer’s co-dependent relationship with greedy, parasitic manager Colonel Tom Parker), the drama will come to balance the sides of Jackson’s life and please his fans, as well as stand up and not look like a whitewash. We’ve heard the movie could start later in his life and then look back at the upbringing that forged his incredible talent and work ethic, as well as the damage he inflicted that ultimately made Jackson a musical figure. tragic.
“Antoine is an insightful and powerful filmmaker, and we feel very lucky that he chose Michael as his next project. His talents as a visionary storyteller and his commitment to his profession will Michael an unforgettable film,” said Joe Drake, president of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.
Said King, “Antoine’s films offer personal perspectives of larger-than-life characters that continually captivate global audiences. I am confident that Antoine will make an exceptional and captivating film that will celebrate and provide profound new insights into the life of the King of Pop.
Fuqua, who early in his career made videos with Prince, Lil’ Wayne, Toni Braxton and Stevie Wonder before his cinematic breakthrough on training daywill look back as he created the King of Pop’s most iconic stage and performance moments.
“The first films of my career were music videos, and I still feel that combining film and music is an integral part of who I am,” Fuqua said. “To me, there is no artist with the power, charisma and sheer musical genius of Michael Jackson. I was influenced to make music videos by watching his work – the first black artist to play on rotation intensively on MTV. His music and these images are part of my view of the world, and the opportunity to tell his story on screen alongside his music was irresistible.
Fuqua is replaced by LBI Entertainment and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole.