Bohemian Rhapsody Producer Now Making A Michael Jackson Biopic, And It Won’t Be Sanitized

Michael Jackson in movie concert This is It
(Image credit: (Columbia))

Once Hollywood lands a certifiable hit, a string of movies of its kind is sure to follow. Such is the case with last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody. The music biopic following Queen’s rise to stardom and the famed band’s personal struggles was one of 2018's greatest hits on the big screen. Now, a Michael Jackson biopic is moonwalking down the line!

Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King has reportedly secured the rights to make a movie centered on the “Thriller” legend, along with access to all of Michael Jackson’s music from his family’s estate. The movie will apparently span the musician’s entire life and is not intended to be a “sanitized rendering” of his legacy, per Deadline.

Graham King’s GK Films has hired John Logan as the film’s screenwriter, and he is a two-time Oscar nominee for his scripts for Gladiator and Hugo. Logan also wrote the big-screen adaptation of Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, the two most recent James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre, and Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator.

Graham King and John Logan’s work on the Howard Hughes film may particularly instill some confidence, considering Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal showed the legend complexly dealing with his mental illness and germaphobia amidst his better known aviation career. However, in terms of Michael Jackson’s life, there’s a ton more to tackle here.

As HBO’s recent documentary Leaving Neverland highlighted, Jackson has a troubled history with sexual abuse allegations that first surfaced back in 1993. The music legend defended himself, paid out settlements, and was brought to trial in 2005 for several claims connected to children having sleepovers at his Neverland Ranch. (The jury produced a verdict of not guilty.) The documentary has since been involved in a $100 million lawsuit with the Jackson estate, which has called it a “tabloid character assassination.”

Additionally, Michael Jackson also allegedly had a tough childhood flooded with mental and emotional abuse by his father, as he and his siblings rose to fame as the Jackson 5, finding hits with “ABC” and “I Want You Back” in the early ‘70s. Of course, in the ‘80s Jackson became an icon in the era of MTV with massive hits such as “Billie Jean” and “Beat It." There’s certainly a ton of material to be touched upon from the singer’s reputation up to his death in 2009 at the age of 50.

News of Graham King making a Michael Jackson movie comes just a few weeks after it was reported the producer was also moving forward with a biopic about the Bee Gees. The movie about the “Stayin’ Alive” artists seems to be further along than the Jackson biopic since it has been picked up by Paramount, whereas the latter is currently without a studio.

King just found success with Bohemian Rhapsody, which became the highest-grossing music biopic of all time with a $903 million worldwide gross. It was nominated for six Oscars, including a Best Actor win for Rami Malek. An Elton John musical, Rocketman, came out this summer as well and a David Bowie movie is currently in production.

What do you think of this Michael Jackson biopic? Leave a comment below and check out our guide to movies coming in 2020!

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.