Michael Jackson Biopic Script Slammed By ‘Leaving Neverland’ Director Dan Reed For Being ‘Startlingly Disingenuous’

Michael Jackson, Dan Reed

Michael Jackson Biopic Script Slammed By ‘Leaving Neverland’ Director Dan Reed For Being ‘Startlingly Disingenuous’

The forthcoming biopic about pop icon Michael Jackson is drawing criticism before it’s even finished filming.

According to reports, Dan Reed, the director of the 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland, has expressed his frustrations with the biopic script.

Michael Jackson

Reportedly, the filmmaker spoke critically about the writing of the movie, hailing a draft of the script as “startlingly disingenuous” for allegedly attempting to discredit the stars of his own film. Reed wrote in a statement:

“Jackson is only ever seen caring for children with childhood cancer, or dancing with a little girl in a wheelchair, or tucking up multiple little boys, mostly his nephews, at sleepovers…It feels like the creators of the movie have been stuck in a room with John Branca and just told what to write.”

Dan Reed

If you recall, Reed’s polarizing documentary shared the stories of two now-grown men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege they were groomed and sexually abused by Jackson starting at the ages of 10 and 7, respectively. Leaving Neverland sparked widespread controversy as some condemned the project for being one-sided and questioned its accuracy while others opted to condemn Jackson over the alleged abuse.

A report notes that Robson and Safechuck have been going through a legal battle against Jackson’s estate since 2013/2014, suing for negligence over the alleged abuse. Last year a court judge ruled that the case would go to trial. However, Jackson’s estate has reportedly made efforts to have the trial pushed back, seemingly so it doesn’t coincide with the biopic’s spring 2025 release date.


This isn’t the first time Reed has criticized the project. After it was revealed that the biopic was in the works last year, the director immediately questioned why there isn’t more outrage over the project being green-lit, stating:

“In an era when full-throated outrage accompanies anything that smells of delegitimization or insensitivity against a vulnerable group, it amounts to a deafening silence. No one is talking about ‘cancelling’ this movie, which will glorify a man who raped children.”

However, producer Graham King has promised that the film will offer an “unbiased” story, stating:

“I look to humanize but not sanitize and present the most compelling, unbiased story I can capture in a single feature film and let the audience decide how they feel after watching it. Michael clearly remains an impactful, culturally relevant artist with a life and legacy worth exploring.”

As we’ve been covering, the biopic titled Michael is directed by Antoine Fuqua and produced by King in collaboration with Michael’s attorneys and co-executors of his estate, John Branca and John McClain. The film is set to star Michael’s own nephew Jafaar Jackson, who will portray him in the movie through his adult life. Additionally, Academy Award nominee Colman Domingo has signed on as patriarch Joe Jackson and Nia Long as matriarch Katherine Jackson.


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Authored by: Kay Johnson