Antoine Fuqua will direct the forthcoming Michael Jackson biopic. Lionsgate will distribute the film, “Michael,” which will chronicle the complex life and work of the late King of Pop.
Fuqua is best known for his successful collaborations with actor Denzel Washington. The filmmaker has helmed films like “Training Day,” “The Magnificent Seven” and “The Equalizer” franchise. He is also the director of the Apple TV+ film, “Emancipation,” starring Will Smith.
“Michael” will tell the story of Jackson, one of the most innovative and polarizing musicians in history, according to Variety. As one of the biggest-selling artists of all time, Jackson entertained the world for nearly four decades as frontman for The Jackson 5 and as a solo artist.
Fuqua noted that his experience as a music video director helped prepare him for this film, especially since Jackson was one of the medium’s foremost visionaries.
“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,” said Fuqua. “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. 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.”
Jackson’s estate announced in February that a biopic was in the works with Graham King attached as the producer. King is best known for producing the Oscar-winning Queen biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” as well as films like “The Departed” and “The Aviator.” Joining King as co-producers are John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of Jackson’s estate.
Before “Michael,” a Jackson documentary — the title of which has not yet been revealed — will be released later this year. Jackson’s estate announced in October that writer-filmmaker Nelson George is the director of the film about the making of Jackson’s best-selling album, “Thriller,” which celebrated its 40th anniversary in November.