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Michael Jackson Biopic Adds Kat Graham as Diana Ross, Larenz Tate as Berry Gordy

The upcoming Michael Jackson biopic “Michael” is embracing the Motown sound — announcing key castings including Larenz Tate as Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and Kat Graham as the legendary Diana Ross.

As the film chronicles Jackson’s rise to prominence — first as a member of the Jackson 5, then as a solo artist — the record label will factor in significantly. “Power” franchise star Tate (who coincidentally played “Thriller” producer Quincy Jones in 2004’s “Ray”) takes on the Motown impresario Gordy, who redefined American music by platforming such acts as the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Diana Ross & the Supremes.

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Graham (“Love in the Villa,” Tyler Perry’s upcoming “Black, White & Blue”) portrays Ross, who, as lead singer of the chart-topping group, was asked to officially introduce the Jackson 5 to the world and remained a lifelong influence on Michael Jackson.

Other new cast members of the Lionsgate and Universal Pictures International project include Jessica Sula (“Split”) as La Toya Jackson, Michael’s older sister; Liv Symone (“Power Book III: Raising Kanan”) as Gladys Knight; Kevin Shinick (“Robot Chicken”) as Dick Clark; KeiLyn Durrel Jones (“The Other Two,” “How to Die Alone”) as Jackson’s former security-turned-trusted friend and confidante Bill Bray; and Kendrick Sampson (“Insecure”) as industry icon Quincy Jones, who first met Michael Jackson when he was just 12 years old. The pair would go on to collaborate on three of Michael’s most successful albums: 1979’s “Off the Wall,” 1982’s “Thriller” and 1987’s “Bad.”

“Michael,” from director Antoine Fuqua, is currently in production and has added a slew of stars in recent weeks. Jackson’s nephew Jaafar Jackson will make his screen debut playing his uncle in the film, while 9-year-old Juliano Krue Valdi will portray the King of Pop from his early days in the Jackson 5.

Colman Domingo and Nia Long will play family heads Joe and Katherine Jackson. Miles Teller will play Jackson’s attorney and advisor John Branca. Eight actors will portray Jackson’s siblings over two time periods, while Variety exclusively reported that Laura Harrier will play portray pioneering female music executive Suzanne de Passe.

Graham King of GK Films (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) is producing the film, which is set to hit theaters on April 18 2025. Three-time Oscar nominee John Logan wrote the script. Prince Jackson, Jackson’s eldest son, is working with the production on set, side-by-side with the filmmakers, on behalf of his siblings.

“I’m thrilled that we were able to bring together such a gifted group of actors for this film,” stated King in a press release. “What they bring to these key roles provides a rich backdrop for the movie, adding to the extraordinary ensemble.”

The release also included an updated synopsis, which mentions the “accusations” against Jackson for the first time:

Michael” will bring audiences a riveting and honest portrayal of the brilliant yet complicated man who became known worldwide as the King of Pop. This epic, cinematic film will examine Jackson’s triumphs and tragedies — from his human side, to his public and private struggles, to the accusations and the 24/7 media microscope Jackson lived under, even at his artistic apex. The all-star filmmaking team will also capture Michael’s undeniable creative genius, recreating his most memorable, iconic performances. As never before, audiences will experience an inside look at one of the most influential, trailblazing artists the world has ever known.

The update comes following multiple reports, including one by Variety, which detailed how the filmmakers plan to contend with accusations of child sexual abuse against the pop star. Jackson denied those claims, including during a criminal trial in 2005, which resulted in an acquittal. His family and estate have maintained that position since Jackson’s death in 2009.

Tate is represented by Fatmata Kamara at Indepedent Artist Group and John Meigs at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller, Gellman, Meigs & Fox. Graham is represented by UTA and Untitled Entertainment.

Sula is represented by 3 Arts Entertainment and Gersh Agency. Symone is represented by Brave Artists Management and Stewart Talent. Sampson is represented by CAA and John Meigs at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller, Gellman, Meigs & Fox.

Jones is represented by Talentworks and Jennifer Wiley-Stockton of JWS Entertainment. Shinick is represented by Rob D’Avola & Associates and The Gotham Group.

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