"He embodies Michael in a way that no other actor could," producer Graham King said of Jaafar
We're looking at a man in the mirror.
In the image, 27-year-old Jaafar is rocking a famous look of Michael's from the 1990s: a white button-up over a white V-neck and black pants, with his hair tied back into a low ponytail as he sings onstage.
"With Jaafar, every look, every note, every dance move is Michael,” producer Graham King said in a statement. “He embodies Michael in a way that no other actor could."
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Added director Antoine Fuqua, “We have assembled an incredible team of artists for this project — hair and makeup, costumes, cinematography, choreography, lighting, everything — and some who knew and worked with Michael are reuniting for this film."
"But most importantly, it's Jaafar who embodies Michael. It goes beyond the physical resemblance. It’s Michael’s spirit that comes through in a magical way. You have to experience it to believe it," said Fuqua, 58.
The first-look image was captured by photographer Kevin Mazur, who said in the release, "When I arrived for my first day on the set of this movie, I was so excited – it was like the first time I went on tour to shoot Michael Jackson."
“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. Seeing Jaafar perform, I thought, ‘Wow, it is Michael,’ " added Mazur.
"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.”
"It's incredibly exciting to watch Jaafar bring Michael to life," Fuqua previously said in a statement to Variety. "There was such a spiritual connection when I first met Jaafar, who has a natural ability to emulate Michael and such a great chemistry with the camera."
Jaafar will be joined by a handful of other big stars for the upcoming film, including Oscar-nominee Colman Domingo, Nia Long and Miles Teller.
Michael is in theaters April 18, 2025.
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