The first look at Michael, the controversial upcoming Michael Jackson biopic, is here. And it turns out the King of Pop’s nephew, Jafaar Jackson, is the spitting image of his late uncle.
In the photo, released Tuesday, Jafaar recreates Michael’s “Man in the Mirror” look from his 1992-93 Dangerous Tour. The photo was taken by Kevin Mazur, who photographed Michael throughout his turbulent but iconic career.
“When I walked onto the set, I felt like I’d gone back in time and I was walking into the stadium to shoot the tour,” Mazur said in a statement on Tuesday. “Seeing Jaafar perform, I thought, ‘Wow, it is Michael.’ The way he looks and acts, his mannerisms, everything—he’s Michael Jackson. For anyone who didn’t have the chance to see Michael perform live during his lifetime—this is how it was.”
Jafaar, 27, is the son of Michael’s older brother Jermaine Jackson. In another statement about the biopic, producer Graham King said, “With Jaafar, every look, every note, every dance move is Michael. He embodies Michael in a way that no other actor could.”
Along with Jafaar, Michael stars Colman Domingo as Joe Jackson, Nia Long as Katherine Jackson, and Miles Teller as lawyer John Branca. The film, from Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, is currently in production and is slated to hit theaters on April 18, 2025.
According to Deadline, Lionsgate previously said that Michael would address “all aspects of Jackson’s life.” But it remains unclear if and how the film will tackle the musician’s various controversies, including the horrific allegations of child sexual abuse that were covered in the 2019 HBO documentary Leaving Neverland.
“It seems that the press, his fans and the vast older demographic who grew up loving Jackson are willing to set aside his unhealthy relationship with children and just go along with the music,” Reed wrote.
The director went on to question why “no one is talking about ‘canceling’ this movie, which will glorify a man who raped children,” and said that the film is sending a bad message to survivors of child sexual abuse. “That message is: if a [pedophile] is rich and popular enough, society will forgive him.”