Now We Have a Better Sense of What to Expect From the Michael Jackson Biopic

The film "Michael" is scheduled for a 2025 release

Michael Jackson
A biopic of Michael Jackson is in the works. What can viewers expect?
Mick Hutson/Redferns

Over the years, there have been countless biopics made about the distinctive lives of people who made history. One such film, Oppenheimer, is the favorite to win Best Picture during Sunday’s Academy Awards. But there’s also a challenge that comes up when making or watching biopics — namely, what might be lost in bringing someone’s life to the screen?

The recent Bob Marley biopic One Love is a good example. Writing at Slate, Jack Hamilton pointed to the roles several members of Marley’s family had in making it, and noted that “a biopic that does seem to know whom it’s for, which isn’t a point in its favor.” In his review of the film for, Robert Daniels elegantly addressed the challenges around biopics, writing, “I would rather have a sincere picture, a film interested in the knottiness of a person and the complexity of the life they lived.”

Which brings us to an upcoming biopic of Michael Jackson whose producers include the two executors of Jackson’s estate. The existence of the film begs the question: how will it address the allegations of sexual abuse that Jackson faced for decades? The answer, according to a recent article by Puck’s Matthew Belloni, is more complicated than you might expect.

Belloni read a screenplay for the film, to be titled Michael, and writes that it is “adulatory toward its subject.” He goes on to state the obvious — namely, that a screenplay is not a finished film, and what he read might not make it to the screen at all. But one aspect of the screenplay did surprise him.

“It’s basically the first major piece of estate-approved entertainment that directly engages with the allegations against Jackson,” Belloni writes. “And it not only engages, it wants very much to convince you Michael is innocent.”

It’s an interesting glimpse at what Belloni refers to as the film’s producers being “motivated to answer the critics in this film.” Though, as he points out, it won’t be the only Michael Jackson-related project seeing release in the year and change to come. Belloni also mentioned that documentary filmmaker Dan Reed hopes to have his followup to Leaving Neverland completed soon and ready for release later in 2024.

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