Well, this was probably inevitable: Having already snapped up one Best Picture Oscar nomination by offering up a crowd-pleasing, uncomplicated portrait of a resolutely complicated musical genius’ life, the producer of Bohemian Rhapsody looks to be going for another. Deadline reports that Rhapsody’s Graham King has acquired the rights to Michael Jackson’s infamously complex life story from the musical superstar’s estate, with an eye toward making a film stretching across the entire inspired, depressing, probably-going-to-have-to-gloss-over-some-of-this-shit span of the King Of Pop’s still-endlessly-debated life. And if you just got a feeling of deep worry and despair far down in the pit of your stomach—as though you’d just watched a man carrying nothing but a pack of floss announce his intent to tightrope between a pair of skyscrapers—well: You’re not the only one.
For what it’s worth, King is promising that the prospective film—set to be penned by Gladiator and The Aviator writer John Logan—will not be sanitized, although given all the things Jackson has been accused of (both during his life, and after), there are a whole lot of levels of “not sanitized” for them to choose from, some more fraught than others. After all, this particular stretch of territory has long been the battleground upon which all takes—hot or otherwise—go to die, from conversations about the artist’s troubled childhood, to the business savvy underpinning his musical dominance, to, inevitably, the allegations of sexual assault that overtook his once-beloved status in the public eye. And while they’re apparently comfortable with Graham taking on the rights to the story, it’s not clear how much influence Jackson’s family—who’ve been harsh critics of projects like HBO’s Leaving Neverland, which has continued to shape public perceptions of his life and actions—will have over the film.
No studio has yet to bite on this one, although given how much cash Graham’s last musical biopic brought in, we can probably expect a tug-of-war between people’s love for money, and their hatred of getting yelled at, to inevitably break out.