The upcoming Michael Jackson biopic is keeping things in the family.
Jaafar Jackson, 26, the King of Pop's nephew and son of Jermaine Jackson, has been cast to play the main role in Antoine Fuqua's film about Michael's life.
Fuqua, director of "Training Day," "The Equalizer" and Will Smith's "Emancipation," announced the casting with a post on Instagram, using a photo of Jaafar Jackson posing in one of Michael Jackson's iconic dance moves. Jaafar Jackson tips his hat and stretches out his leg in the photo, while also wearing his uncle's signature side-striped pants.
Jaafar Jackson said that he is "humbled and honored to bring my Uncle Michael's story to life," in a tweet, accompanied by the same photo credited to Jaafar's brother, Jourdynn Jackson.
"To all the fans all over the world, I’ll see you soon," he said. Jaafar Jackson is also a music artist and released a single and music video in 2019, "Got Me Singing," in which he channeled his uncle with dramatic dance moves.
The biopic, which will be his first major acting role, is set to begin filming later this year, Deadline reported.
Katherine Jackson weighed in on the casting news, telling Variety that "Jaafar embodies my son."
"It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers,” she said.
One of the film's producers, Graham King, who worked on the Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody," told Variety that he met Jaafar Jackson two years ago and "was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael."
“It was something so powerful that even after conducting a worldwide search, it was clear that he is the only person to take on this role," 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.”
Michael Jackson, who helped define pop music across the globe, died in 2009.
Another retelling of Jackson's life has already found critical and commercial success with the 2021 Broadway show "MJ the Musical." The show nabbed four Tony Awards, including the lead actor in a musical award for its 22-year-old lead, Myles Frost.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.