This should be interesting.
Film producer Graham King helped create one of the biggest silver screen hits of 2018 – Bohemian Rhapsody. The award-winning film told the story of legendary rock band Queen, with Rami Malek picking up an Oscar for his his champion performance as Freddy Mercury. All in all, King clearly knows the formula for turning real-life music stories into silver screen gold.
But I have a feeling his latest venture might prove a tad more complicated; a few more variables to contend with if we’re sticking to that ‘formula’ imagery.
King has reportedly been given permission by the Jackson estate to tell “King of Pop” Michael Jackson’s story in a new feature-length film (essentially, Bohemian Rhapsody style). On top of that, they’ve also granted him the rights to Jackson’s entire music catalogue, which means that the film is guaranteed to be loaded with classic Jackson hits.
Interestingly, Jackson’s estate “will not be involved in the development of the script”, according to Deadline.
Although no studio is attached to the project yet, King’s GK Films has managed to secure Oscar-nominated writer John Logan (Gladiator, Sweeney Todd Alien: Covenant) to write the script.
So let’s address the elephant in the room here. Michael Jackson is obviously a controversial figure and, if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering whose side of the story King’s actually going to tell here. Apparently, King enjoys a challenge – that’s good, ’cause I reckon this might be the biggest one of his career.
According to Deadline, “the complexity of Jackson’s life” (did a PR write this?) will not be ignored in the film and it will show his entire life right up until his death in June 2009 at age 50.
I have to say, I’m really surprised that this is going ahead (with the permission of the Jackson estate, too) in the wake of the deeply disturbing Leaving Neverland documentary. The four-hour documentary, which was released earlier this year – and is actually really tough to get through – features allegations made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who both claim that Michael abused them on numerous occasions when they were children. Such allegations plagued the later years of Jackson’s career.
From the very outset, MJ’s estate and family have vehemently denied the allegations levelled at Jackson, claiming that they’re nothing but lies.
The estate ended up releasing their own counter-documentary, titled Neverland Firsthand: Investigating The Michael Jackson Documentary, which according to the estate “sheds light” on information left out of Leaving Neverland. You can watch this documentary below.
Whatever this feature film ends up becoming, it’s fair to say it’s going to be homing beacon for endless controversy.
They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity for something – I guess we’ll find out.
Images via Getty
Having worked in children's media and publishing for almost a decade, Ben is thoroughly excited to now be able to swear in stories and features. He is such a big fan of Disney and Horror films that he started an LGBTQ+ podcast called 'Once Upon A Scream'. His mum listens. You can contact Ben at [email protected] Twitter: @PulsfordBen / Instagram: @thebenmidlerFollow