Michael Jackson’s nephew Jaafar Jackson to play the King of Pop in Antoine Fuqua-directed biopic

The upcoming Michael Jackson biopic has found its King of Pop.

Director Antoine Fuqua (Emancipation) revealed on Instagram Monday morning that Jackson’s nephew, Jaafar Jackson, will play the iconic musician in the upcoming Michael.

“Proud to announce @jafaarjackson as Michael — the motion picture event that explores the journey of the man who became the King of Pop. Coming soon,” Fuqua wrote alongside a photo of Jaafar practicing some of Michael’s legendary moves in a very familiar outfit.

Michael is the latest in a recent trend of musician biopics that have so far fared well with both audiences and awards bodies. Baz Luhrmann‘s Elvis, for example, netted eight Oscar nominations last week, with star Austin Butler a strong contender to win Best Actor. In 2019, Rami Malek earned that very trophy for his portrayal of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s no surprise that one of the producers behind Bohemian Rhapsody, Graham King, is also working on Michael.

Closer to home, the jukebox musical MJ The Musical has been successful on Broadway, grossing millions in ticket sales and earning lead actor Myles Frost the award for Best Actor in a Musical at the 2022 Tony Awards.

Jaafar Jackson, Michael Jackson
Jaafar Jackson, Michael Jackson

Araya Diaz/Getty Images; Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images Jaafar Jackson will portray his uncle Michael Jackson in the upcoming biopic ‘Michael.’

Deadline reports that the film “will not shy away from the controversies of Jackson’s life,” most notably the multiple allegations of child sexual abuse (for which Jackson was tried and acquitted in 2005). A decade after Jackson’s 2009 death at the age of 50, those allegations were explored in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, in which Wade Robson and James Safechuck alleged that Jackson sexually molested them for years when they were children. The Jackson estate has called those allegations “absolutely false.”

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