Raise your hand if you’ve been brought up Beating It to Billie Jean and Bad, practiced your moonwalking skills more times than you can remember and joined millions of people mourning around the globe when the King of Pop was pronounced dead back in 2009.
Good. Now raise your hand if you have been living under a rock lately and do not know that the lifetime movie Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland is set to premiere this month on May 29th – Memorial Day. For those few of you out there, here is your last chance to learn everything you need to know about the upcoming film tribute to the King of Pop.
Source: Michael Jackson via Facebook
Michael Jackson Retold by Those Closest to Him
The biopic, produced by Lifetime, is based on the book Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days, which retells the final years in the iconic singer’s life from the perspective of his two trusted bodyguards – Bill Whitfield, a former cop and security veteran, and rookie Javon Beard, who, interestingly, were both single fathers themselves. Whitfield, played by Chad L. Coleman, and Beard, portrayed by Sam Adegoke, stayed by Jackson’s side nearly 24/7, seeing and hearing everything that transpired during MJ’s crisis years.
The two men acted as his security team while he moved from city to city, hounded by paparazzi. Being stationed for two and a half years by MJ’s side, they were uniquely placed to narrate the story of his last years in a more personal light, focusing on his relationship with his children as the King of Pop strived to be a good father amidst all the media attention.
Their story describes the intense relationship with the media, the extreme security measures necessary due to it, the seclusion that Jackson and his children lived in, and his star-crossed This Is It tour, along with the happiness he found in the simple family moments he spent with his kids and his unique relationship with his devoted fans. The movie also focuses on the tragic events that led up to the singer’s death.
Source: Michael Jackson via Facebook
MJ’s Final Struggles and His Legacy
It is true that Michael Jackson struggled during the last years of his life – not least, following the sale of his beloved sanctuary, Neverland. However, he remains one of the most popular singers of all time: among other achievements, he sold more than 750 million albums worldwide, he won 13 Grammy Awards (including the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award) and holds the Guinness World Record as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time.
His legacy definitely lives on, not only in the hearts of fans and in his music, but also in the insane range of merchandise his name has inspired. For instance, popular board game manufacturer Hasbro has created a special Michael Jackson Edition Monopoly, while Fabulous Bingo’s MJ: King of Pop slot games feature a number of the singer’s most popular hits as background music including Beat It, Billie Jean, Bad, Dirty Diana and Smooth Criminal – while the features and symbols are also themed on Jackson and his iconic works.
In short, there is nothing out there that can’t be found enriched with an MJ twist. He even continues earning money after his death: Forbes named him the top-earning dead celebrity, estimating his earnings at $825 million in 2016. And news of his death, at the age of 50, broke the internet – for real. For fans, he will forever be the King of Pop – and pop culture.
Portrayed by the World’s Best MJ Impersonator
In the film, the King of Pop is portrayed by the Navi, widely recognised as the world’s number one Michael Jackson impersonator. Navi had previously worked with Jackson himself for several years as his double and was reportedly a good friend of his.
The fact that he is involved in the project at all is good news for many fans, who believe that Navi will not only do justice to the iconic pop figure, but he would also not associate himself with a movie that did not accurately portray Jackson’s life. In fact, Navi has apparently turned down the leading role in the biopic Michael Jackson – Man in the Mirror by Channel 5 in the UK, fearing that the film would not portray MJ accurately.
It remains to be seen whether Searching for Neverland will finally be the appropriate tribute that fans have been waiting for, or if they will once again be left wanting more.