Published On: Sat, Mar 9th, 2024

Michael Jackson biopic script ‘aggressively depicts star as innocent victim’ | Films | Entertainment

In April 2025, the official estate-approved Michael Jackson movie biopic will hit cinemas. 

The King of Pop’s nephew Jaafar Jackson stars as his uncle in “Michael”, which is produced by Bohemian Rhapsody’s Graham King.

In a movie with an estimated budget of $155 million, plus 20 MJ songs and five Jackson 5 tracks, Lionsgate and Universal are hoping to cross $1 billion at the global box office.

Nevertheless, during and after his 50 year life, Jackson faced allegations of child sexual abuse which he always denied. As a result, there has been much speculation over how the film will handle this.

A reporter has read the script of the movie, which is now in principal photography, and it turns out the estate intends to tackle the accusations head-on.

Puck News summed up John Logan’s screenplay for Michael: “If you really, really love Michael Jackson, this movie is for you.” The outlet said that if the script ends up as it currently is on the big screen it will be “super controversial” because it’s “basically the first major piece of estate-approved entertainment that directly engages with the allegations against Jackson. And it not only engages, it wants very much to convince you Michael is innocent.”

Michael opens in 1993 with MJ looking out his Neverland bedroom as the police arrive to strip search him. The star was facing accusations of sexually abusing 13-year-old Jordan Chandler and the cops were corroborating the boy’s statements about Jackson’s anatomy in a case that eventually led to a $20 million settlement. The script “goes to great lengths to minimise and downplay the actual claims and eviscerate the Chandlers”. In a scene where the singer is photographed naked surrounded by police and lawyers, it reads: “This assault, this scorching trauma, will shake him to the core and never leave him.” The outlet noted: “The clear message: Michael was the actual victim here.”

The Michael script never depicts the star alone at night with children, something that even those who defended him said happened frequently. Instead, the screenplay describes Jackson as “uniquely comfortable around kids”, with one line reading: “I’ve been around kids my whole life, but now they’ve turned it into something ugly.”

Puck News assessed: “It shouldn’t be surprising that the estate wants to launder MJ’s image. That and making money are kinda the only reasons the estate exists. What’s interesting is how aggressive the script is in this pursuit.” In terms of what’s missing, there’s a lack of interrogation of Jackson’s defences aside from the fact that his “eccentric lifestyle looks bad”, while no perspective of the accusers is offered either.

Aside from the 1993 Chandler case, there’s nothing in the script about the later investigation and trial, nor Wade Robson and James Safechuck’s allegations after MJ died, in the Leaving Neverland documentary. The outlet summed up: “The takeaway from Michael is that Michael Jackson had an abusive father who caused him to become a horribly insecure yet harmless Peter Pan, constantly reliving the childhood he never had. And ultimately, that was weaponised by bad people trying to exploit him. That’s a deliberate choice by the estate, after 15 years of silence, to go on the offensive.”

Read the full report on Puck News here. Michael hits UK cinemas on April 18, 2025.

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