Thursday, July 25, 2024

Exclusive: Michael Jackson TV Movie Coming from Emmy Winning Motown Veteran Who Knew King of Pop Well


EXCLUSIVE A Michael Jackson movie that will show him as a doting parent in the final years of his life is coming to TV. And the good news is, the producer is someone who knew Jackson well from the beginning of his career, and still reveres him.

Casting notices have gone out for a Lifetime movie based on the book by Jackson’s bodyguards, Bill Whitfield and  Javon Beard. “Remember The Time: Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days,” was published in 2014 and was pretty much on track about Jackson’s life after he returned from his self imposed exile abroad in 2006.

The most interesting thing about the casting notice is that the producer of the film is former Motown chief Suzanne DePasse, who worked for Berry Gordy from the late 60s until the company was sold. DePasse literally knows everything about Motown. She was there when the Jackson 5 was discovered, and has maintained excellent relations with the Jackson family and all the Motown acts over the last four decades. She has two Emmy Awards, and three other nominations– including nods for two highly regarded mini-series about the Temptations and the Jacksons’ rise to fame. The Jackson legacy should be in good hands with DePasse, that’s for certain. (By coincidence, I just caught that Temps movie on cable last week, and it really holds up!)

I’m obviously curious about the movie, and Jackson fans will be, too. (DePasse’s office didn’t return phone calls yesterday.) But the bodyguards’ book is a good resource for the last couple of years of Jackson’s life as it shows his struggles to find a new place to live after leaving Neverland, dealing with his mounting financial crisis, and parenting his three young children. There’s no doubt that Jackson was an excellent father– just look at those kids seven years after his death. They’re thriving. He was doing something right without a doubt.

So stay tuned. “Remember The Time” sounds like it might be the first step in rehabilitating Jackson’s legacy via film. Jackson’s estate should be happy about that.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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