EXCLUSIVE Michael Jackson– the beloved version, from the 1980s– will not be making a film comeback anytime soon. According to emails culled from the voluminous Sony hack, Sony Pictures wanted use of Michael’s likeness for their summer 2015 3D Adam Sandler movie “Pixels.” They were turned down flat.
The emails turned up in a group found by musician Val Broeksmit, who’s been releasing his findings much to Sony’s chagrin on Twitter. Sony has vowed to sue Twitter and Broeksmit. But so much of the material is already coursing its way through the internet that it might be difficult to rebottle this genie.
According to the emails, a production exec reached out to Sony’s Amy Pascal for help persuading Jackson estate lawyers John Branca and Karen Langford in their quest to include Jackson with a bunch of 80s icons including — this is from the email– Bruce Springsteen, Mr. T, Ronald Reagan and Hall & Oates.
Langford tells Jonathan Kadin that, off the record, she might consider letting them use Jackson’s image if the fee were in the high six figures. But Kadin says the studio usually pays $20,000 for cameos such as these, and the budget allows for a maximum of $25,000. So it’s not going to happen even though Kadin says “Sandler is anxious for this to happen.” Kadin notes that the request for such a high fee was a polite way for the Jackson estate to turn them down.
Langford, Kadin says, recalls Jackson’s infamous cameo in “Men in Black 2” and that it wasn’t received well. You may recall that Michael wouldn’t give Sony Music the final master tapes for the “Invincible” album to release until they secured him this role.