One Movie To Be Based On Thriller, Another On Michael Jackson’s Early Years

Posted by October 26, 2010 Comment

There’s going to be a feature film based on Thriller because that’s just what happens when people like Michael Jackson die and the exploitable rights to everything they ever did fall into the laps of managers and trusts. Unsurprisingly, there’s a biopic on the cards too. Let’s see how long it takes Jackson to make more money dead than he ever did alive.

Now, the last time somebody was asked to make a movie around Michael Jackson’s Thriller, John Landis stepped up and absolutely knocked it out of the park. His longform video for the track is one of the best bits of Jackson bric a brac to clutter up late 20th Century pop culture, and it’s so genuinely beloved that I would (naively?) have thought he’d be in with a fair shout at getting his hands on this new project. Sadly, that’s very much not the case and Deadline are reporting that Kenny Ortega, a longtime Jackson collaborator and director of This Is It, has won the prize.

The screenplay for the Thriller movie (I assume it will be called Michael Jackson’s Thriller if not just Thriller) is being written by Jeremy Garelick, co-writer of The Break-Up. And there you go, right there is a better choice of director than Ortega: The Break-Up‘s Peyton Reed. But I feel dirty and wrong just entertaining that notion. Just picturing anybody but Landis in this particular canvas chair feels like a betrayal.

It’s a shame we no longer have Vincent Price to call on for voiceover, but what yet remains to be seen is if Rick Baker will comeon board to do make-up. That would represent a swing in the right direction.

This isn’t the firs attempt to expand the Thriller video. It’s almost two years since I received a press release telling me that a stage musical adaptation was coming and that Michael Jackson himself was going to be involved in every phase of its development. Here’s how the show’s emotional heart was pitched to us at the time:

Girl meets boy, they fall in love, boy has big secret, now what…

Yeah. Now what?

Meanwhile, the same Deadline report has it that Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock are developing a biopic centred on the early years in Jackson’s life. There’s no more information given, but I think we can make some basic assumptions about how much fun the costumes, wigs and music could be.

(Last Updated October 26, 2010 4:50 pm )