This is the man whose creative talents have traversed the planets and stars on more than one occasion, who has placed his directorial trademark on sci-fi machinery and worlds, and now, he is exploring the events of another planet–Earth.
But, then again, can the astronomical music of Michael Jackson ever be able to be held to earthly standards?
JJ Abrams is joining up with PBS’s Tavis Smiley–or, more specifically, his company Bad Robot is–to produce the made-for-Warner Bros TV event series directly based on Smiley’s unpublished book Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days, Deadline reports.
How exactly the two plan to umbrella Smiley’s written work into television format is still a mystery, as no one is exactly sure of the content of the book. The announcement is coming but one day before the book’s publication, however, so as of tomorrow, people can glean a fairly good sense of what the show is going to entail.
In essence, the series event–called Before You Judge Me–will illustrate the moon-walking King of Pop’s less-than-glamorous years leading up to his death. In the time before Jackson passed away in a hospital bed in 2010, the music star faced numerous accusations from the parents of children over possible child molestation. Jackson had also been known to be self-medicating, right up to the days of his finality.
Smiley, also a political commentator across a spectrum of news outlets, claims that his intention was to “get inside Jackson’s head,” and that in the book, at least, the events will detail specifically the last sixteen days of the musician’s life. Whether or not that is the pattern the Michael Jackson series will follow is yet to be determined.
Before You Judge Me is, in fact, the second series that Abrams and Smiley are working on together for WBTV. The two, through Bad Robot, are also in the midst of developing a series based on Smiley’s book about Martin Luther King Jr., entitled Death of a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year. On top of both of these, Smiley is also producing an event sprung from the life of the late poet Maya Angelou, which, of course, was also purchased by WBTV.
Along with Abrams and Smiley, former BBC veteran Ben Stephenson and David Brewington (both of Bad Robot) will executive produce the series.
Before You Judge Me, of course, is not to be confused with the controversial British TV comedy about a bizarre road-trip between Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marlon Brando. In that particular series, the public became outraged when Joseph Fiennes, a certifiably white man, was cast as Jackson, a certifiably black man who suffered from vitiligo later in his life, which caused his skin to appear lighter.
One would hope that Abrams and Smiley would be looking into African-American actors to be their Michael.