The stars from the upcoming controversial Lifetime “Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland” biopic have responded to criticism from the King of Pop’s family.
Navi, who stars as Jackson, is a well known impersonator of the late singer, and revealed he’s obviously disappointed the film does not have MJ’s family’s support, “Is it important to me? Of course, because I wouldn’t like to hear that someone didn’t support the project,” he told CBS.
The film, based on the book Remembering the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson on His Final Days written by the superstar’s two bodyguards Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard, will also star Chad L. Coleman as Whitfield and Sam Adegoke as Beard.
“I didn’t do this project from a business point of view,” Navi continued. “I did this project from my heart, from a Michael Jackson fan’s point of view. So it doesn’t matter which company and businesses and associates, whatever, do or don’t support us. Fans want it told.”
Coleman spoke up to support the project, saying it shows the world, Jackson, as a real person, “At the end of the day, Bill Whitfield had a personal experience with Javon Beard,” he added. “And it is with integrity and character, so there’s nothing salacious here. You know, the men had so many people turn the book down because they said Michael appeared too normal. But that’s what we’re going for. We’re trying to show you the man.”
On Monday, Jackson’s estate released a statement to Billboard to denounce all projects under the “Thriller” singer’s name, including a possible Netflix project, “To clear up any confusion or misperceptions about unsanctioned Michael Jackson projects current in the new – including a Lifetime television movie and an animated film script recently purchased by Netflix – the Estate of Michael Jackson does not license or permit the use of any rights it owns, including to Michael’s music, images, video and films, for use in unauthorized works seeking to exploit Michael’s legacy.”
The Lifetime original film will air June 3 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.