This Saturday, June 25, marks seven years since Michael Jackson's death. The anniversary of his passing isn't the only reason the King of Pop is once again in the news, with documents today resurfacing relating to a 2003 child sex abuse investigation at Neverland Ranch. But it's his complicated, intriguing life that would make for such compelling TV viewing.
J. J. Abrams and his production company Bad Robot seem to agree, with a miniseries currently in development adapting Tavis Smiley's book Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson's Last Days, which comes out in hardcover today, June 21. Smiley, a media personality and author, will be aiding in Abrams' TV adaptation.
The book's official synopsis reads as follows:
A powerful chronicle of the sixteen weeks leading up to King of Pop Michael Jackson's death;
Michael Jackson's final months were like the rest of his short and legendary life: filled with deep lows and soaring highs, a constant hunt for privacy, and the pressure and fame that made him socially fragile and almost--ultimately--unable to live.
With the insight and compassion that he brought to his bestselling telling of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s final year, Tavis Smiley provides a glimpse into the superstar's life in this emotional, honest, yet celebratory book. Readers will witness Jackson's campaign to recharge his career--hiring and firing managers and advisors, turning to and away from family members, fighting depression and drug dependency--while his one goal remained: to mount the most spectacular series of shows the world had ever seen. BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME is a humanizing look at Jackson's last days.
No news yet about when the show might air, but there's sure to be mass opinion on who should or could play the icon on the small screen. Joseph Fiennes already copped plenty of flak when he was cast to play Jackson in the TV movie Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon. As Fiennes is caucasian, it did feel like a strange decision for him to play an African-American, though he and the filmmakers have defended the decision by stating the film is meant to be satirical.
Any portrayal of Jackson is sure to be controversial, but with the success of The People v O.J. Simpsons: American Crime Story earlier this year, we're sure to see more of these TV biopics.
Here's a reminder of Jackson at the height of his success, although he would later go on to be a controversial and tragic figure:
Would you watch a show about Michael Jackson's last days?