What Actor Jason Weaver Said About Time Spent With Michael Jackson Filming ‘An American Dream’
In the world of biopics with classics like Selena to the more current ones like The New Edition Story, fans jump at the opportunity to get the inside details of their favorite star from their perspective. One of the first stars to have a popular film about their life was in the form of a mini-series. In 1992, the famous Jackson family revealed the intimate details of their complex childhood and rise to fame in the ABC miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream.
The series detailed the rise of the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson’s decision to embark on a career that did not include his brothers or the stern management of his father, Joseph Jackson. Jason Weaver played a young Michael Jackson in what he refers to as his breakout role. He recently spoke about the experience and interacting with Michael during the filming process.
Jason Weaver was acting before ‘American Dream’
In an interview with YouTube vlogger Vlad TV, Jason Weaver spoke about his audition process for the Jackson family biopic miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream. He was working with the Chicago talent agency, Burell Talent Agency (now Burrell Communications), famous for securing black actors, musicians and singers jobs in entertainment. After doing a few national commercials and jingles, his agent felt he was ready for something bigger.
Jason was a Michael Jackson fan, just as most teens during that time and heard. His first role in the film, A Long Walk Home, alongside Whoopi Goldberg. The film was critically acclaimed but was not a commercial success. Jason explained that with the film being a time-period piece set in the Civil Rights Movement era, it did not connect with audiences at the time it was released.
The lackluster success of A Long Walk Home did not discourage Jason. He kept auditioning and soon landed the role of a lifetime. A casting call was put out for roles in the Jackon family biographical miniseries. A fan of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, Jason would go from performing the King of Pop’s songs in his mirror to playing him on screen.
Jason Weaver says Michael Jackson picked him to play him in ‘American Dream’
Jason auditioned like every other kid vying to play a young Michael Jackson in the series. He admitted to Vlad that he was given a heads up about the audition a couple of weeks prior to the casting announcement from a cousin who was connected to a rep of Sony Music. The rep informed his cousin during a casual conversation that they would be auditioning soon and he relayed the information to Jason.
Jason recorded an audition tape, singing two hit songs by the Jackson 5. His agency sent the tape to movie producers and within two weeks, he was brought in for a callback. His in-person audition went well enough that he landed the role! Shockingly, Jason told Vlad that he had a difficult time mastering Michael Jackson’s speaking and singing voice and claims that his voice is much “deeper” than fans would imagine.
The cool part about the filming process for Jason was being around the Jackson family almost daily. Jermaine Jackson was the executive producer of the film, along with his wife at the time. Many of the family members would show up to set to help guide the film. What made Jason feel the most special was knowing that Michael Jackson himself picked the actors who played him.
“Mrs. Jackson, Mr. Jackson, Jermaine and his wife were present at my final audition,” he recalled. “They gave their final approval before the tape was sent to Michael.”
Jason Weaver says Michael Jackson visited him on set dressed in disguise
When speaking to Vlad, Jason says that he met Michael during the filming of American Dream but because Michael was dressed in disguise, he did not recognize him. Prior to Michael’s visit, an announcement was made that Michael would be visiting. Michael delayed the visit on the scheduled day because of a conflict in the schedule, in conjunction with the disruption it caused the set. Michael did come on another day without letting anyone on the crew know. Jason explained:
“When he actually came to visit, an assistant director pulled me over and told me to come to his trailer because someone wanted to meet me. I go to his trailer and I thought it was just an older white guy when I saw him. When he started to speak to me and I looked into his eyes…he told me ‘You’re doing a great job, a really great job Jason.’ And I go ‘Oh Sh*t, Michael?!’ He said yes and apologized for coming like this [in disguise].”Source: YouTube
Vlad was confused as to why Michael would come dressed in disguise. Jason explained to him that Michael had a close relationship with the makeup director of the film and anytime Michael wanted to do normal activities without the interference of the media, he’d contact his special effects guy to dress him in disguise so that he would not be followed by paparazzi. Meeting with Jason worked as Jason did a phenomenal job in the series!