Director Antoine Fuqua is taking on the life of Michael Jackson in his next movie project.
On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Fuqua, 56 and Lionsgate are teaming up to produce a biopic titled Michael, as the Training Day director said in a statement that “combining film and music are a deep part of who I am” as he embarks on directing the movie.
“The first films of my career were music videos, and I still feel that combining film and music are a deep part of who I am,” Fuqua said in a statement obtained by THR on Wednesday. “For me, there is no artist with the power, the charisma, and the sheer musical genius of Michael Jackson.”
“I was influenced to make music videos by watching his work – the first Black artist to play in heavy rotation on MTV,” the director continued in the statement.
“His music and those images are part of my worldview, and the chance to tell his story on the screen alongside his music was irresistible,” he added.
Lionsgate has said the upcoming biopic will “address all aspects of Jackson’s life,” according to THR, though the outlet noted it is unclear how Fuqua’s film will address allegations of child s**x abuse levied against Jackson that were most recently publicly detailed in the 2019 documentary film Finding Neverland.
The movie will be produced in coordination with Jackson’s estate — co-executers John Branca and John McClain are listed as producers — which has repeatedly defended the late singer and songwriter against allegations, the outlet also reported.
Jackson, known as the “King of Pop” in the music industry, died on June 25, 2009 at the age of 50 after he suffered cardiac arrest at his home. In 2011, his doctor Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in his d**th.
Fuqua most recently directed Will Smith in Emancipation, which served as 54-year-old Smith’s first movie release since the controversial moment when the actor struck Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars in March 2022. The film is available to stream on Apple TV+.
Screenwriter John Logan, who previously wrote Gladiator (2000), The Aviator (2004) and the James Bond installments Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015), wrote the screenplay for Michael, according to THR.
No casting decisions regarding who will portray Jackson or other major figures in the singer’s life have been announced as of this time.