By: Renee Grant
As Netflix and Lifetime gear up to release new projects centered on the King of Pop Michael Jackson, his estate has distanced themselves from what they are calling “unauthorized works.” They also hinted that they also have several projects in the works about the entertainer’s life.
Last week, Lifetime released a trailer for its upcoming film Michael Jackson: Searching For Neverland, based on a book by Michael’s bodyguards Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard titled Remember The Time: Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days. Netflix also announced a deal to acquire a script telling the story of Jackson’s life told from the point of view of his pet chimp Bubbles.
The estate issued a statement denounced the upcoming pieces, and alluded to possible litigation should the projects continue. This follows backlash against a short film starring Joseph Fiennes portraying Jackson during a road trip with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after the 9/11 attacks.
The statement reads: “To clear up any confusion or misperceptions about unsanctioned Michael Jackson projects currently in the news — including a Lifetime television movie and an animated film script recently purchased by Netflix — the Estate of Michael Jackson does not license or permit the use of any rights it owns, including to Michael’s music, images, video and films, for use in unauthorized works seeking to exploit Michael’s legacy. The Estate itself has numerous projects in development, all of which respect, honor and celebrate Michael’s life and legacy along with his extraordinary artistry that touched fans throughout the world. When the executors are ready to announce them, they will. As Michael said countless times about his own work, the quality goes in before the name goes on.”