Who better to fill Michael Jackson‘s moonwalking shoes than another member of the Jackson family?
Canadian-American entertainment company Lionsgate announced on Monday that Jackson’s 26-year-old nephew, Jaafar Jackson, will star in the upcoming biopic Michael in the titular role.
The film is to be directed by Antoine Fuqua and produced by Graham King, who produced the 2018 Oscar-winning Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
On Twitter, Jaafar — who is the second-youngest son of Jackson’s older brother and Jackson 5 member Jermaine Jackson — said he is “humbled and honored” to play his uncle in the film.
“To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon,” he wrote.
Michael will explore the King of Pop’s rise to fame and controversial legacy, “including his most iconic performances that led him to become the greatest entertainer of all time,” according to a statement from the studio.
Jaafar was chosen for the role after a worldwide casting search. King told Variety that “it was clear that he is the only person to take on this role.”
“I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael,” King said. “I am beyond thrilled that he has come on board to portray his uncle and cannot wait for the world to see him on the big screen as Michael Jackson.”
Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, said Jaafar “embodies my son.”
“It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers,” she said.
Michael will be Jaafar’s first major role in a film. He has released music in the past and has a strikingly similar high tenor to his uncle. Take a listen, below:
Michael will be created in cooperation with Jackson’s estate. Though many have speculated how the film will portray Jackson’s life, namely allegations of child sexual abuse during the singer’s life and after his death, the studio told Deadline Michael will not shy away from the singer’s controversies.
Jackson always maintained his innocence of any and all abuse allegations and was found not guilty of child molestation in 2005.
Michael does not yet have an official release date. Shooting for the biopic will reportedly start this year.