With his new album, Invincible, on top of the charts, Michael Jackson is lining up his next challenge: conquering the feature film world.
Jackson will co-direct a new movie called Home of the Angels with his friend Bryan Michael Stoller. Shooting is scheduled to begin next May in Stoller's native Canada.
"It's about a young boy about eight-years-old," Stoller says. "He finds himself in and out of orphanages. It's kind of Stand By Me with a little bit of Oliver. It's a dramatic piece, not a musical. It's a pretty serious piece too. And it's sort of all about growing up, and who to trust, and him being afraid of trusting people because the people he cares about tend to go away. It's a pretty emotional piece."
Jackson brought the project to Stoller's attention during a screening for Stoller's film Undercover Angels (Yasmine Bleeth, James Earl Jones) at Neverland Ranch a year and a half ago.
"After he saw the movie, he turned to me and said there's a book he read a few years ago that he wants to direct," Stoller says. "Our sensibilities are very similar, and he asked if I would like to co-direct and produce it with him, and then he gave me the book and we bought the rights to it."
The duo hopes to use Jackson's connections to attract big-name actors for the project, which is based on a true story. "We feel we can get people like the Nicolas Cages and the Julia Roberts," Stoller says. "The movie pretty much stars the child, but there's adults he comes into contact with throughout the film. So the name actors, we would probably only use them for a week or two each."
Jackson will also help score the film. "The songs he writes will probably be the opening title, closing credits," Stoller says. "It will be probably more ballads, because of the material. We haven't really talked about this, but he may also write just instrumental music for the actual picture in certain places."
Currently the duo is in talks with major studios that have expressed interest in funding the project. "We haven't decided what studio we're going to go with," Stoller says. "We're just talking with people now. When you say 'a Michael Jackson film,' there tends to be a lot of interest and curiosity."