Taking on the twisting, turning, and often troubling story of Michael Jackson’s life isn’t an easy feat; since his death in 2009 from sedative-induced cardiac arrest, no big-budget biopic chronicling the pop icon’s career has made it to the big screen.
Now, however, that’s set to change: Emancipation director Antoine Fuqua has been tapped to direct Michael, a new film on The King Of Pop from Lionsgate, per Variety. Oscar-winning producer Graham King, whose credits include The Departed and Bohemian Rhapsody, is on board, and Skyfall scribe John Logan will handle the script.
Although no official plot summary has hit the internet yet, the film will reportedly squarely take on every aspect of Jackson’s career: his start as a luminous child star with the Jackson 5 to the pedophilia allegations that swirled around him in his later years (and after his passing). Jackson’s legacy is nothing if not complicated—recounting his story will take the deftest and most even hand.
“For me, there is no artist with the power, the charisma, and the sheer musical genius of Michael Jackson,” Fuqua shares in a statement with Variety. “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.”
Fuqua will devote his full attention to Michael once he wraps filming The Equalizer 3 with Denzel Washington, per Deadline. Production is slated to begin later this year, and cinematographer Robert Richardson—a consistent collaborator of Fuqua’s—is reportedly likely to take the reins behind the camera.
“Antoine is a perceptive and powerful filmmaker, and we feel very fortunate that he has chosen Michael as his next project,” Joe Drake, chair of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, tells Variety. “His visionary storytelling skills and commitment to his craft will make Michael an unforgettable film.”