Will the Michael Jackson Biopic Cover the Pop Star’s Entire Life?
A Michael Jackson biopic is on the horizon (in addition to a movie musical), and all eyes are on scriptwriter John Logan to deliver a narrative that adequately encompasses the pop star’s complex life. From his difficult childhood to his adolescent rise to stardom and the sexual abuse allegations he faced later in life, conquering Jackson with sincerity and reverence will not be easy.
Considering Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King secured the rights to the movie from the Michael Jackson estate, many have been wondering whether the movie will include the darker parts of the icon’s adulthood. Will the film eliminate the multiple allegations — removing the shadow that followed the singer for the latter part of his life — or hit them head-on?
With films like Judy and a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood choosing to cover a specific portion of an entertainer’s life, there is a way to avoid covering the darker part of Michael Jackon’s adulthood without raising too many eyebrows, as this approach to the biopic is slowly becoming more common than the life-long epic. However, Deadline recently reported that this will not be the case for the Jackson biopic. Not to mention, it would also feel a bit cheap, as it would come off as a desire to dodge the disastrous.
No intention to ‘sanitize’ the Michael Jackson biopic
Deadline’s Mike Fleming was told that the “film isn’t intended to be a sanitized rendering of Jackon’s life. The report indicates that Jackon’s life story is well known, and the film will not ignore facets of his existence that the public is already aware of.
The Michael Jackson biopic will reportedly span the pop star’s entire life — the good and the bad will be presented on a platter (so they say). However, considering the rights were granted by the same estate that brought a $100 million lawsuit against HBO for Leaving Neverland, the situation seems complicated.
Leaving Neverland was a 2019 documentary directed and produced by British filmmaker Dan Reed, detailing the two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who alleged they were sexually abused as children by Michael Jackson.
Fans may see Jackson’s life in a new light
Despite the allegations, it is important to remember that Jackson was never convicted of a crime; meaning, the biopic may leave this aspect of the pop star’s life up for interpretation. The movie may tell the story, but fail to dole out blame or prove innocence, leaving the audience to make up their minds when it comes to this part of Jackson’s life.
Just because the movie will not be “sanitized” does not mean that the complicated issues won’t be handled with care. The estate will wish to keep Michael Jackson’s legacy alive in a way that both pays reverence and retells the truth — from his childhood abuse to his eventual early death. The writer and director will likely weave a narrative that attempts to show causality, aligning the music with his life events, to paint a full picture.
You can’t just show fans what they already know; you must create a drama from the reality, and in this transition from history to screen, Jackson’s life will come into focus in an unseen or unpondered light (one the estate was willing to sign on the dotted line for). The only question left now: who will play Jackson, and how many actors will appear in the title role to cover a 50-year lifespan?