Michael Jackson Biopic Adds Kat Graham as Diana Ross, Larenz Tate as Berry Gordy

By | March 26, 2024

The following Michael Jackson Biopic “Michael” Embraces the Motown Sound and Announces Major Castings, Including Larenz Tate as Founder of Motown Records Berry Gordy And Cat Graham as the legendary Diana Ross.

As the film chronicles Jackson’s rise to fame – first as a member of the Jackson 5, then as a solo artist – the record label will play an important role. ‘Power’ franchise star Tate (who happened to play ‘Thriller’ producer Quincy Jones in 2004’s “Ray” takes on Motown impresario Gordy, who redefined American music through acts like the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Diana Ross and the Supremes.

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Graham (“Love in the Villa,” Tyler Perry’s upcoming “Black, White & Blue”) portrays Ross, who as lead singer of the chart-topping group was tapped to officially introduce the Jackson 5 to the world and a lifelong influence on Michael Jackson.

Other new cast members from the Lionsgate and Universal Pictures International project include Jessica Sula (“Split”) as La Toya Jackson, Michael’s older sister; Liv Symone (“Power Book III: Raising Kanan”) as Gladys Knight; Kevin Shinick (“Robot Chicken”) as Dick Clark; KeiLyn Durrel Jones (“The Other Two,” “How to Die Alone”) as Jackson’s former security friend and confidante Bill Bray; and Kendrick Sampson (“Insecure”) as industry icon Quincy Jones, who first met Michael Jackson when he was just 12 years old. The pair would go on to collaborate on three of Michael’s most successful albums: 1979’s ‘Off the Wall’, 1982’s ‘Thriller’ and 1987’s ‘Bad’.

Director Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Michael’ is currently in production and has added a slew of stars in recent weeks. Jackson’s nephew Jaafar Jackson will make his film debut as his uncle in the film, while 9-year-old Juliano Krue Valdi will play the King of Pop from his early days in the Jackson 5.

Colman Domingo and Nia Long play family heads Joe and Katherine Jackson. Miles Teller will play Jackson’s attorney and advisor John Branca. Eight actors will play the Jackson siblings in two time periods Variety exclusively reported that Laura Harrier will play pioneering female music manager Suzanne de Passe.

Graham King of GK Films (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) is producing the film, which will be released in theaters on April 18, 2025. Three-time Oscar nominee John Logan wrote the script. Prince Jackson, Jackson’s eldest son, works on the set on behalf of his siblings, working side by side with the filmmakers.

“I am thrilled that we were able to bring together such a talented group of actors for this film,” King said in a press release. “What they bring to these key roles provides a rich backdrop to the film, adding to the extraordinary ensemble.”

The release also included an updated synopsis, stating for the first time the “allegations” against Jackson:

Michael” will give audiences a compelling and honest portrait of the brilliant but complicated man who became known worldwide as the King of Pop. This epic, cinematic film explores Jackson’s triumphs and tragedies – from his human side, to his public and private struggles, to the accusations and the 24/7 media microscope under which Jackson lived, even at his artistic peak. The all-star film team will also capture Michael’s undeniable creative genius and recreate his most memorable, iconic performances. Like never before, the audience gets a glimpse behind the scenes of one of the most influential, groundbreaking artists the world has ever known.

The update comes after multiple reports, including one from Variety, which detailed how the filmmakers plan to handle child sexual abuse allegations against the pop star. Jackson denied those claims, including during a 2005 criminal trial that resulted in his acquittal. His family and estate have maintained that position since Jackson’s death in 2009.

Tate is represented by Fatmata Kamara at Independent Artist Group and John Meigs at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller, Gellman, Meigs & Fox. Graham is repped by UTA and Untitled Entertainment.

Sula is repped by 3 Arts Entertainment and Gersh Agency. Symone is represented by Brave Artists Management and Stewart Talent. Sampson is represented by CAA and John Meigs at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller, Gellman, Meigs & Fox.

Jones is repped by Talentworks and Jennifer Wiley-Stockton of JWS Entertainment. Shinick is represented by Rob D’Avola & Associates and The Gotham Group.

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