NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Jackson’s 26-year-old nephew, Jaafar Jackson, will play the King of Pop in the planned biopic “Michael” to be directed by Antoine Fuqua.
Lionsgate announced Jackson’s casting Monday for the film being produced by Oscar-winning “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King. Jackson is the second-youngest son of Jermaine Jackson, Michael’s brother. He’s put out music of his own; in 2019, he released his debut single, “Got Me Singing.” “Michael” will be Jackson’s acting debut.
“I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael,” said King in a statement. “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.”
On Instagram, Fuqua shared a black-and-white photograph of Jackson in character. Fuqua added in a statement that Jackson “has a natural ability to emulate Michael and such a great chemistry with the camera.”
On Twitter, Jackson said he’s “humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life.”
“Michael” will be an authorized portrait of the pop star, who died in 2009. The film, scripted by “Gladiator” and “The Aviator” screenwriter John Logan, is being produced with the cooperation of the singer’s estate.
“Jaafar embodies my son,” Katherine Jackson said in a statement. “It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers.”
“Michael” is to begin shooting this year.