Spike Lee is gearing up to debut another documentary devoted to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
The Chi-raq filmmaker is back with Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, Entertainment Weekly details.
The new documentary will debut at Sundance Film Festival next month and a film synopsis reads that it will “explore the seminal album, with rare footage and interviews from those who were there and those whose lives its success and legacy impacted.”
Jackson, who died in 2009, released Off the Wall in 1979 with stellar singles, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Rock With You,” “Working Night” and the title track, “Off the Wall.”
Lee first developed the project Bad 25 in 2013 devoted to the late singer’s album.
Sundance Programming Director Trevor Groth said that the documentary will show fans the work-ethic of one of the most iconic musicians of the last 50 years as he transitioned from a child star to a legend.
“The film focuses on his drive and commitment. What a hard worker he was, not just on how talented he was. It looks at when he transitioned from the Jackson Five into a solo career. For fans, I think it’s going to play through the roof. And not fans, they’re going to be fascinated.”
Michael Jackson’s space mini-opera Captain EO will moonwalk across the Magic Eye Theater movie screen one last time on December 6.
In its place will be the new “Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival.” The date of debut of the new Pixar attraction was not announced.
The 3-D movie, revived in 2010 following Jackson’s death, originally ran from 1987 until 1996 at Epcot’s Imagination land.
A fan driven online petition was successful in relaunching the Francis Ford Coppola directed, George Lucas-produced short film.
The 17-minute movie depicts a then peak-fame Jackson attempting to “change the world” with music. Jackson, with a rag tag band of robots and aliens, manage to successfully overthrow the Angelica Huston-portrayed Supreme Leader in her bleak nightmarish dystopian world.
According to a Disney statement, fans are invited to “change the world” again,
If you can’t make it to Epcot before December, watch the movie here:
This was actually made in 2009, soon after Michael Jackson’s death, and just before the release of his concert movie, “This Is It,” later in the year – put together by Time magazine, it’s a concise 7-minute summary of the King of Pop’s entire movie career, including one or two on-screen appearances you may not be familiar with.
“This Is It” was technically his very last big screen “role,” although it was a documentary – a videotaped pre-concert concert, assembled from rehearsals that occurred from April through June 2009 (right before he died), for a tour that was scheduled for that summer. For roughly 2 hours, it’s Michael Jackson – mostly a very austere Michael – prepping quite rigorously for a concert tour that, due to his abrupt death, never came to pass.
If there’s one thing I took away from watching “This Is It,” it’s that, quite a lot of work goes into producing a concert fit for a king – the King of Pop, that is. There’s the old joke about the guy who asks pianist Arthur Rubinstein how to get to Carnegie Hall; and Rubinstein replies, “Practice, practice, practice.” And that’s exactly what they do here! The dancers, the musicians, the crew behind the pyrotechnics, and of course, MJ himself, who, throughout the entire documentary, is so self-assured and in full control of almost every aspect of the production, never hesitating to express dissatisfaction (as well as praise) when necessary – traits that seem so counter to the almost fragile, effete Michael Jackson that the media often portrays.
Your appreciation for the film will likely depend on your appreciation for the man at the center of it – because it’s really all about him. You, the audience, essentially are made privy to the kind of footage you likely would never get to see under most similar circumstances. You get to witness how much work goes into the preparation for a concert of this magnitude, as each piece is imagined and realized – no frills, no adornments. You get to see the magic that happens behind the curtain – in lieu of what you would have seen live and on stage, but now never will. In a way, it’s like buying a DVD that comprises solely of extra, behind the scenes features, without the completed film.
Regardless, I think any fan of MJ’s will appreciate what “This Is It” offers – a glimpse of a Michael that I don’t think we ever really got to know, and the final steps of a genius, fully dedicated to his craft, as well as the audiences that still love and support him.
It’s on various home video platforms, so look for it there if you want to see his last on-screen appearance in a film.
For everything else that came before it, watch the Times video summary below (underneath it you’ll find one of the films he starred in, the short,directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and co-written by George Lucas – “Captain EO”):
The Wiz is coming to network television on December 3 thanks to NBC and Cirque du Soleil.
On Monday, the network announced it will air a live production of the hit 1978 film The Wiz – starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross – with co-producer Cirque du Soleil, which will then present The Wiz on Broadway for the 2016-17 season.
‘We’re more excited than ever to not only bring another Broadway musical to America’s living rooms, but also see it land on Broadway as well,’ said NBC Entertainment Chairman, Robert Greenblatt in an official statement.
In January, Greenblatt explained that NBC remained committed to such projects and was weighing either The Wiz or The Music Man as the network’s third musical adaptation after Allison Williams’ Peter Pan Live and Carrie Underwood’s Sound Of Music.
‘Cirque’s incredible imagination will help bring the fantasy world of Oz vividly to life and give this great show a modern spin on the age-old story we all love,’ Greenblatt added in the statement. ‘The Wiz is a natural next step for our live musical events.’
Cirque du Soleil’s new theatrical division President and Managing Director Scott Zeiger also stated: ‘The Wiz is a musical I have wanted to produce for years and it’s the perfect show to present under the new Cirque du Soleil Theatrical banner.’
Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun) will stage the TV production and Broadway revival in collaboration with fellow Tony winner Harvey Fierstein (Hairspray), who is set to contribute new material.