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Michael Jackson Biopic Makers Claim ‘Unbiased’ Portrayal; ‘Leaving Neverland’ Director Disputes Script

Key Points:

  • The makers of the upcoming Michael Jackson biopic Michael claim to present an “unbiased” portrayal of the late pop star’s life.
  • However, the director of Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed, who read a draft of the script, calls it “startlingly disingenuous” for dismissing the allegations of child sexual abuse against Jackson.
  • The film’s producers, including Jackson’s former attorneys and estate executors, maintain the singer’s innocence, setting up a potential conflict with the upcoming civil trial involving two of Jackson’s alleged victims.

As Michael Jackson’s biopic Michael gears up for its 2025 release, the film’s team is promising an “unbiased” and “honest” portrayal of the late pop icon’s life. However, their claims are being challenged by the director of the acclaimed documentary Leaving Neverland, which detailed the allegations of child sexual abuse against Jackson.

Makers Claim ‘Unbiased’ Portrayal

Michael Jackson - Oprah Winfrey
Michael Jackson – Oprah Winfrey

In a statement to Variety, producer Graham King asserts that he “went into this project with an open mind and spent years researching Michael Jackson’s life and work – from his artistry to his public and private struggles, to his humanitarian efforts.”

“As a filmmaker, I look to humanize but not sanitize and present the most compelling, unbiased story I can capture in a single feature film and let the audience decide how they feel after watching it,” King adds.

However, Dan Reed, the director of Leaving Neverland, which chronicles the allegations by Wade Robson and James Safechuck that Jackson maintained yearslong sexual relationships with them as children, has a different perspective. After reading a draft of the Michael screenplay, Reed calls it “startlingly disingenuous” for making a point to discredit Robson and Safechuck’s claims.

“Jackson is only ever seen caring for children with childhood cancer, or dancing with a little girl in a wheelchair, or tucking up multiple little boys, mostly his nephews, at sleepovers,” Reed says. “It feels like the creators of the movie have been stuck in a room with John Branca and just told what to write.”

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Entangled with Michael Jackson’s Estate

The film’s producers, including Jackson’s former attorney John Branca, and co-executor of his estate John McClain, maintain Jackson’s innocence, setting up a potential conflict with the upcoming civil trial involving Robson and Safechuck. The trial, which was combined in February, is expected to take place after the film’s scheduled April 2025 release.

“There’s too much of a stink – too much evidence, too many allegations – for anyone backing this narrative in the movie to have a clear conscience,” Reed asserts.

Despite the controversy, members of the cast, including Miles Teller and Colman Domingo, have defended their involvement in the project. Teller stated that Jackson “deserves a movie to be made,” while Domingo emphasized his role as an artist is “to find humanity in all people – people who have been villainized, people who have been victimized.”

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As the release date approaches, the debate surrounding the film’s portrayal of Jackson’s legacy and the allegations against him is likely to intensify. Regardless of the stance taken by the filmmakers, the biopic will undoubtedly face scrutiny from various quarters.

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