Michael Jackson is venturing into directing for the first time, teaming with writer/director Bryan Michael Stoller on a big-screen adaptation of Jennings Michael Burch's book "They Cage the Animals at
Michael Jackson is venturing into directing for the first time, teaming with writer/director Bryan Michael Stoller on a big-screen adaptation of Jennings Michael Burch's book "They Cage the Animals at Night" for Icon Productions. The book is the true story of the author's account of being left at an orphanage and bouncing around from one foster home to another.
"Cage" came about after Jackson saw the Canada-born Stoller's 1999 family film "Undercover Angel," starring Dean Winters and Yasmine Bleeth, and contacted the writer/director.
"Michael said he wanted to direct, that he liked my style and that we would complement each other as co-directors," Stoller said. "He was the one who brought this book to me. It deals with orphans, and Michael always felt that he grew up as an orphan because, in a way, he missed out on his childhood. The boy in the book had a tough time, and Michael related a lot to that. Michael and I have similar sensibilities. We're both big kids, and we feel that when it comes to their emotions, we'd be able to draw that out for the big screen."
Claiming that Jackson has "an amazing vision" as a director, Stoller said he was "fortunate that he wants me to be his directing partner." He expects the script for "Cage" to be completed in about a month's time.
"Everyone knows that Michael bought an Oscar statue for $1.6 million," Stoller said of Jackson's 1999 purchase of producer David O. Selznick's best picture Oscar for the classic film "Gone With the Wind." "I joke with Michael that this time, we're going to earn an Academy Award -- he won't have to buy it. The material [in the book] is touchy. I'm not saying we will get an Academy Award, but the material is the kind that if done the right way, it should get attention in that direction."
"I feel we have a wonderful team, and this is perfect marriage with Icon, and I'm looking forward to all of us working together," Jackson said in a statement.
The project continues Jackson's interest in the feature film world. In February, Jackson's Neverland Entertainment invested between $15-20 million in Mark Damon's production and distribution company MDP Worldwide, making Jackson and his new producing partner Raju Patel major shareholders in the company. The deal with Icon is said to be separate from the MDP Worldwide deal.