After scouring the world over for an actor to portray Michael Jackson, the producers behind Lionsgate’s upcoming biopic Michael have tapped the King of Pop’s nephew to carry the torch.
“I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael,” said producer Graham King, according to Variety. “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.”
Jaafar, the 26-year-old son of Jackson 5 member Jermaine Jackson, will portray his uncle through explorations of MJ’s life and greatest performances, according to the studio.
According to Deadline, Jaafar has been singing and dancing since the age of 12, though Michael will mark his first foray into major motion pictures.
“Jaafar embodies my son. It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers,” said the gloved singer’s mother Katherine Jackson in an interview with Variety.
Made in coordination with the Michael Jackson Estate, the film will feature tracks from the singer’s musical catalogue, though it remains to be seen if the estate’s involvement will dictate the portrayal of some of the larger controversies that shadowed the pop star, including multiple allegations of child sexual abuse that he was found not guilty of, and repeatedly vehemently denied.
“It’s incredibly exciting to watch Jaafar bring Michael to life,” said director Antoine Fuqua. “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.”