Michael Jackson biopic: Jaafar Jackson is the spitting image of the King of Pop in first photo

14 February 2024, 11:16

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By Mayer Nissim

Jaafar Jackson is the spitting image of his uncle in the first picture from the biopic.

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When it was announced that we would finally be getting an official Michael Jackson biopic, the all-important question was who would be playing the King of Pop.

Producers decided to go with a relative unknown who had a bit of a genetic advantage. Newcomer Jaafar Jackson, who is the nephew of the late pop superstar.

We've now been given the first proper of Jaafar as Michael Jackson, and with the help of movie magic, he looks exactly like his famous uncle at his mid-1980s peak.

Jaafar had previously said of his casting: "I’m humbled and honoured to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life. To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon."

Jaafar Jackson as his uncle Michael Jackson in the upcoming biopic
Jaafar Jackson as his uncle Michael Jackson in the upcoming biopic. Picture: Kevin Mazur/Lionsgate

Ahead of shooting, Jaafar captioned a rehearsal photo showing him dancing: "The Journey Starts Monday."

Titled Michael, the upcoming movie is directed by Antoine Fuqua and produced by Bohemian Rhapsody's Graham King.

"It's incredibly exciting to watch Jaafar bring Michael to life," Fuqua said on his casting.

"There was such a spiritual connection when I first met Jaafar, who has a natural ability to emulate Michael and such a great chemistry with the camera."

Despite his familial link to MJ, Jaafar didn't just walk into the role, but won it fair and square after a worldwide casting search.

Producer King said: "I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael.

"It was something so powerful that even after conducting a worldwide search, it was clear that he is the only person to take on this role."

While he has limited acting experience, Jaafar has been singing and dancing since the age of 12.

The actual Michael Jackson on the Bad tour in 1988
The actual Michael Jackson on the Bad tour in 1988. Picture: Getty Images

He has covered the likes of Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye, as well as performing originals, and in 2019, he released his first single, 'Got Me Singing'.

Originally set to shoot in mid-2023, filming was postponed and eventually began shooting in late January 2024, and the film now has a release date of April 18, 2025.

It'll be distributed by Lionsgate in the US, and Universal everywhere else.