Michael Jackson’s Nephew Set To Portray the King of Pop in Upcoming Biopic “Michael”

According to Lionsgate, “Michael” aims to provide a "riveting and honest portrayal" of Michael Jackson's life that is “exemplified by his most iconic performances.” The film will cover Michael Jackson’s early success with the Jackson 5 to his sedative-induced death.

Michael Jackson’s Nephew Set To Portray the King of Pop in Upcoming Biopic “Michael”
Michael Jackson (left) will be portrayed by his nephew Jaafar Jackson (right) in the 2025 film. Jaafar is the son of Jermaine Jackson, Michael Jackson's brother who converted to Islam in 1989.

Jaafar Jackson, the 26-year-old nephew of Michael Jackson, is set to portray the King of Pop in Antoine Fuqua's upcoming biopic “Michael.” Lionsgate will handle the U.S. release on April 18, 2025, while Universal will manage overseas distribution. 

According to Lionsgate, “Michael” aims to provide a "riveting and honest portrayal" of Michael Jackson's life that is “exemplified by his most iconic performances.” “Michael” will cover Michael Jackson’s early success with the Jackson 5 to his sedative-induced death. Despite celebrating his iconic performances, the movie will also address the pedophile accusations that marked Jackson's later years.

“I was influenced to make music videos by watching [Michael Jackson’s] work — the first Black artist to play in heavy rotation on MTV,” Fuqua said. “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.”

The project, which has been in development since 2019, is gaining momentum with Fuqua as director, promising a blend of musical set pieces and a comprehensive exploration of Jackson's complex legacy. The script will be written by John Logan and produced by Graham King and the co-executors of Jackson’s estate, John Branca and John McClain.

Fuqua announced on Instagram in January 2023 that Jaafar Jackson, a 26-year-old singer and son of Jermaine Jackson, will play the titular role in Michael. “I’m humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life,” Jaafar Jackson said on social media. “To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon.”

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Jaafar Jackson is the son of Jermaine Jackson, Michael Jackson’s older brother and the second lead singer of the Jackson 5. Jermaine Jackson converted to Islam in 1989 after a trip to Bahrain. Jermaine and Michael were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses with the rest of their family.

In a 2017 interview with BBC, Jermaine Jackson shared the reason for his conversion to Islam. He recounted a tour of the SWANA region in 1989 where he interacted with Muslim children who proudly shared their faith. “Then they started telling me about Islam,” Jermaine Jackson said in the interview. “They were giving me information, much in [line] with their age. The pitch of their voice would reveal that they were highly proud of Islam.” The children’s confidence and discussions about Islam left a profound impact on Jermaine Jackson, leading him to engage in longer conversations with Muslim scholars. Eventually, he acknowledged his conversion to Islam, initially revealing it to a family friend. Jermaine expressed that embracing Islam made him feel reborn, finding answers to questions he had struggled with in Christianity.

In a 2010 interview with Al-Arabiya, Jermaine Jackson, claimed that the King of Pop was on the verge of converting to Islam before his death. Jermaine Jackson discussed Michael Jackson's time in the Gulf, stating that he had a Muslim team and showed signs of being close to conversion. According to Jermaine Jackson, Michael Jackson was drawn to Islam, appreciated the call to prayer,and read books on the religion. Jermaine Jackson believes Islam could have provided protection for his brother and expressed his wish that Michael Jackson had publicly announced his potential conversion. Jermaine Jackson has been open about the positive impact he believes Islam could have had on Michael Jackson, sparing him from life's hardships.

“Michael” is set to enter production later this month on Jan. 22. 

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