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Michael Jackson Biopic Casts Juliano Krue Valdi as Young Michael

Just one week after confirming an April 18, 2025, release for the upcoming Michael Jackson biopic, the creators behind the film have cast their young King of Pop.

Nine-year-old actor Juliano Krue Valdi will portray Michael Jackson during his formative years in the Jackson 5 — the legendary family band behind such timeless hits as “I’ll Be There,” “ABC” and “I Want You Back.” Valdi is well-known across social media for his Michael Jackson impersonations, with videos of him flawlessly executing the moonwalk garnering thousands of likes and views. He joins Jackson’s nephew, Jaafar Jackson, who is set to play the older version of the late music icon.

“This opportunity is really important to me because Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, and he is very special in my heart. I’ve been dancing to his songs for five years now,” Valdi said in a statement. “He makes me feel really special and makes me feel good about myself. I love the energy of Michael Jackson.”

Titled Michael, the forthcoming biopic will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, the filmmaker behind 2001’s Oscar-winning Training Day and 2022’s Will Smith-starring Emancipation. In a statement regarding Valdi’s casting, Fuqua said: “Casting the role of the young Michael was more difficult than casting the adult role, because where do you find a child actor with the chops of the greatest entertainer who ever lived? In the end, that was our focus — talent — and we looked far and wide for an actor who could embody Michael’s spirit through his voice, his charisma, and his dance skills. Juliano’s undeniable, raw talent put him at the top of our list.”

Michael also features a slew of accomplished producers, including Graham King of the Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody and John Branca and Jon McClain, co-executors of Jackson’s estate. John Logan, a Tony winner and three-time Oscar nominee, wrote the script. Michael is set to survey Jackson’s life and historic four-decade career. Principal photography begins next week (Jan. 22).

Michael Jackson is one of the most successful artists of all time. As a soloist, he earned 13 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits, including “Billie Jean” (seven weeks), “Rock With You” (four weeks) and “Black or White” (seven weeks). Over on the Billboard 200, the music legend score six No. 1 albums, including 1982’s Thriller (37 weeks), 1987’s Bad (six weeks) and 1991’s Dangerous (four weeks).

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