Around the time of his death, there was talk both here in the USA and in the UK of Michael Jackson feature biopics being in development (of course we got a couple of documentaries). Nothing definite. But we do now know about Lifetime’s upcoming telepic on the last few years of Jackson’s life, “Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland,” which will be told through the eyes of his bodyguards, and is set to premiere on Memorial Day.
But there’s a second, lesser-known Michael Jackson project in the works…
Dan Harmon (executive producer of 2015’s critically acclaimed stop-motion feature film “Anomalisa,” from Charile Kaufman), will tackle another potential work of surrealism via stop-motion animation: a Michael Jackson story, but this time told through the eyes of his famous pet chimpanzee, Bubbles.
Harmon acquired the screenplay for “Bubbles” as the film will be titled, penned by Isaac Adamson, and which Taika David Waititi (director of the upcoming “Thor: Ragnarok”) is attached to direct alongside co-director Mark Gustafson.
Its official synopsis reads: “A baby chimp is adopted by the pop star Michael Jackson. Narrating his own story, Bubbles the Chimp details his life within The King of Pop’s inner circle through the scandals that later rocked Jackson’s life and eventually led to Bubbles’ release.”
The script was a Black List top pick – a survey of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays.
“It’s an idea that fascinates me and one I want to develop further,” said Waititi in a previous statement. “Most people know I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan, so the main thing for me is to make sure it’s respectful of him and his legacy. I’m not interested in making a biopic; I want to focus on telling a story that blends fact and fantasy, about an animal trying to make sense of the world.”
Repped by international sales company Rocket Science, the project is being shopped to international buyers at the ongoing Cannes Film Market, with Netflix said to be the front-runner for the movie, and Amazon right behind.
Andrew Kortschak and Walter Kortschak of End Cue are producing, along with Dan Harmon’s Starburns Industries. Executive producers are Adamson and Lee Stobby.