Jaafar Jackson, Michael Jackson’s twenty-six-year-old nephew, will portray the King of Pop in Antoine Fuqua’s forthcoming biopic Michael.
Lionsgate made the announcement on Monday, which was later backed up by director Fuqua, who shared the news in an Instagram post, writing: “Proud to announce @jaafarjackson as Michael — the motion picture event that explores the journey of the man who became the King of Pop. Coming soon.”
Fuqua has directed and produced a variety of smash-hit movies over the course of his career in the film industry, including Training Day, The Magnificent Seven, and The Equalizer.
So he’s definitely up for the challenge when it comes to making a biopic based on music legend Michael Jackson’s life. And his mother, Katherine Jackson is clearly happy with the casting choice.
“Jaafar embodies my son. It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers,” Jackson said.
“I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael,” Graham King, the producer of the film, said.
“It was something so powerful that even after conducting a worldwide search, it was clear that he is the only person to take on this role. I am beyond thrilled that he has come on board to portray his uncle and cannot wait for the world to see him on the big screen as Michael Jackson.”
“It’s incredibly exciting to watch Jaafar bring Michael to life,” Fuqua added. “There was such a spiritual connection when I first met Jaafar, who has a natural ability to emulate Michael and such a great chemistry with the camera.”
Production on Michael, which was written by Gladiator author John Logan, will start later this year. King and John Branca and John McClain, the co-executors of the Michael Jackson estate, will produce it.
Fans were thrilled with the news that Jackson’s nephew would be taking on the role of the star, with one excited fan writing: “Can’t wait for people to see this film and be like “Wow, he really did resemble Michael, I wonder if they’re related” and to hop on google and find out Jaafar is his nephew. Perfect casting, excited to see what you create.”
While another wrote: “It’s so hard to play an icon like Michael and I’m excited to see how he does! They obviously wouldn’t cast him if he wasn’t right for the part. It’s just hard to imagine someone portraying such a talented man. But who better to play than a family member!”
However, some were a little concerned with the casting choice: “Please tell me this kid can act. Yeh, he looks exactly like 70/80s Michael but looks aren’t the most important thing for a biopic it’s the presence and acting. Butler didn’t look like Elvis but he transformed into him, the same as Remi for Queen. Hope this isn’t some family pressure to cast him and it’s a genuine casting based on pure talent.”
What do you think of the casting choice?