I want to keep this one short for the sole reason that I don’t want to add too much to the post-death Michael Jackson fanaticism.
The man was a great artist, yes. And he was a very flawed man. Playing up the tragedy or cashing in on the art doesn’t change those two simple facts, but that won’t stop Hollywood from doing it anyway.
According to Variety, Sony (who owns the publishing rights to Jackson’s songs) will pay about $50 million to purchase eighty hours of rehearsal footage that was shot in preparation for Michael’s London concerts. The idea, of course, is to use the footage, in conjunction with three music videos (including an alternate cut of Thriller), to create a feature film.
High School Musical 3 director Kenny Ortega shot the footage and will be the default director on the project. He’s already piecing together the film.
I was a little bit relieved to find out that this movie wasn’t going to be a standard Hollywood biopic–I guess that will come later. Still, this whole thing has a kind of grotesque vibe to it. The only reason to see the footage is to marvel at what Michael Jackson was like in the weeks leading up to his death.
When the man was pronounced dead, I did two things. I read the news story, and I watched Thriller. If the goal is really to remember the man (and not cash in for a quick buck), I can think of no better way than revisiting his earlier work, sans commentary, revisionism and speculation. Looks like this film is going for something a little different, though.