Michael Jackson’s 26-year-old nephew, Jaafar Jackson, will play the King of Pop in the planned biopic Michael to be directed by Antoine Fuqua.
Lionsgate announced Jackson’s casting on Monday for the film being produced by Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King.
Jackson is the second-youngest son of Jermaine Jackson, Michael’s brother.
He has put out music of his own – in 2019, he released his debut single, Got Me Singing.
I’m humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life. To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon.
Photo by Jourdynn Jackson pic.twitter.com/Xow9Mkakup
— Jaafar Jackson (@JaafarJackson) January 30, 2023
Michael will be Jackson’s acting debut.
“I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael,” said King in a statement.
“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.”
On Instagram, Fuqua shared a black-and-white photograph of Jackson in character.
Fuqua added in a statement that Jackson “has a natural ability to emulate Michael and such a great chemistry with the camera”.
On Twitter, Jackson said he was “humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael’s story to life”.
Michael will be an authorised portrait of the pop star, who died in 2009.
The film, scripted by Gladiator and The Aviator screenwriter John Logan, is being produced with the co-operation of the singer’s estate.
“Jaafar embodies my son,” Katherine Jackson said in a statement.
“It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers.”
Michael is to begin shooting this year.