Michael Jackson Film Ordered at Lifetime

The cabler is also collaborating with James Franco for a second two-hour film.
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Another Michael Jackson TV project is already in the works.

Hours after U.K. channel Sky pulled the plug on an upcoming scripted program featuring the iconic pop star due to criticism, Lifetime announced Friday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that it has ordered a bopic about Jackson.

Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland (working title) centers on the final years of his life as told through the eyes of his trusted bodyguards. Navi, the No. 1 Michael Jackson tribute artist, will step into the title role, with Chad L. Coleman (The Walking Dead) playing one of his most trusted bodyguards, Bill Whitefield.

The project hails from exec producer Suzanne de Passe (The Jacksons: An American Dream), who worked with Jackson and the Jackson 5 early in her career as a creative assistant to Motown head Berry Gordy, and is based on the book Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days. De Passe will exec produce with Madison Jones and Robert Teitel (the Barbershop franchise), with Silver Screen (The Craigslist Killer) attached to produce. Elizabeth Hunter (Beauty Shop) wrote the script, and Dianne Houston (Take the Lead, Surviving Compton) is set to direct. Production begins next month in Los Angeles, with the movie set to premiere sometime later this year.

Early Friday, U.K. pay TV channel Sky said it would not broadcast an episode of Urban Myths centered on Jackson’s fabled cross-country trip from New York to Los Angeles with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after Jackson’s daughter Paris said she was “incredibly offended” by Joseph Fiennes’…