In case you haven’t seen enough Michael Jackson lately, cable’s USA is planning a biopic of the embattled singer, according to trade reports. To be sure, the USA movie has been in the works for months, execs say. Producer Robert Cooper, who has yet to cast the film but hopes to air it early next year, tells the Hollywood Reporter he believes there’s something universal in the story of the oddball pop star. ”We all go through a journey of identity,” Cooper says. ”His journey is more extreme, but it is that — and that is what is accessible about a man trying to find out who he is.”
Meanwhile, Jackson’s efforts to rebut ”Living With Michael Jackson” filmmaker Martin Bashir’s on-camera aspersions regarding the King of Pop’s behavior with kids have so far failed to materialize. The New York Daily News reports that the major networks have declined to air Jackson’s five-minute videotape that purportedly shows Bashir praising Jackson’s parenting abilities, which he would later disparage in voiceover in the final version of ”Living.” ”It wouldn’t prove very much,” a network exec said of Jackson’s video.
The New York Post reports that Jackson had made tentative arrangements to speak on ”60 Minutes” on Sunday, three days after ”Living” aired on ABC, but correspondent Ed Bradley and his camera crew got as far as the gates of Neverland on Saturday before negotiations broke down. ”They weren’t ready to do anything right now,” executive producer Don Hewitt said of Jackson’s camp, ”and whether they will at some point remains to be seen.”
If Jackson does want to speak out, he’d better do so soon. According to Variety, VH1 plans to air ”Living With Michael Jackson” on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and ABC is negotiating with Granada, the documentary’s British producer, for one more airing before VH1 starts running it.