Michael Jackson, who is back in the headlines after U.K. and U.S. airings of the controversial "Living With Michael Jackson" TV documentary, is the subject of a biopic in development at USA Network.
Michael Jackson, who is back in the headlines after U.K. and U.S. airings of the controversial "Living With Michael Jackson" TV documentary, is the subject of a biopic in development at USA Network. The project has been in the works for several months, preceding the latest flurry of Jackson headlines. Producer Robert Cooper (FX's "Sins of the Father") has come on board to executive produce the movie, which is targeted for a premiere early next year.
The film will center on Jackson's contemporary life, with flashbacks to his past. Although the research for the project has included reading numerous accounts of the singer's life, no source material for the movie has been selected.
The movie is being developed as part of USA's series of "lightning-rod biographies" of public figures whose lives have been surrounded by controversy, which includes the upcoming Rudy Giuliani biopic, "Rudy!" said Jeff Wachtel, USA executive VP for series and longform programming.
He said the film will examine the two sides of Jackson -- a music genius and a controversial persona. "We know we have the spectacle and the allure in the title and the subject matter, but we really want to do a movie that says something about our culture and really places Michael Jackson in the context of the last generation of our culture," Wachtel said.
Cooper said he became involved in the project because he believes everybody can identify with Jackson's story. "We all go through a journey of identity," Cooper said. "His journey is more extreme, but it is that -- and that is what is accessible about a man trying to find out who he is."
Meanwhile, "Living With Michael Jackson" is scheduled to run Saturday (Feb. 15) at 9 p.m., Sunday at 8 p.m., and Monday at 10 p.m. on VH1. Last Thursday's debut of the program drew an estimated 27 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.