I was willing to let the Michael Jackson estate have a go at a Broadway musical that covered the King of Pop’s 20s and 30s, ending with the 1980s and his tremendous successes. Stopping there was a smart idea, since the hits from the 90s aren’t so iconic. And that way they could avoid all discussion of child molestation accusations, payoffs, and Michael’s descent into a Howard Hughes-like capriciousness.
But now comes word that producer Graham King and screenwriter John Logan are going to attempt a movie biography that encompasses Michael’s entire life. This is a mistake. This is called pushing your luck.
Now the Estate is asking for trouble. Michael’s life and behavior post 1990 is a rollercoaster ride of scandals, tabloid headlines, inexplicable marriages, uncomfortable explanations about business and personal relationships, and so on. Does the Estate really want to recount the endless managers and bad business deals, the Neverland children, the payoffs to families– even if they are shakedowns–etc?
That movie can’t be whitewashed. Critics will weigh in across the board and the movie will be a waste of money. Once Logan sketches it out he’ll see the problems. Does he really want to explain all the plastic surgery? The “marriages”?
And then, of course, there’s the ongoing litigation with Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck. It’s not even resolved, and the Estate is thumbing its nose at them. Wouldn’t be better to let that all subside? Jackson’s record sales are good, the musical can be fun. But a supposed serious movie that tells all truths? There’s no way that can work out.