Tuesday sees the release in bookstores of Tavis Smiley’s book Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days. Not to be outdone, J.J. Abrams will be teaming up with author Smiley and Warner Bros. Television to produce a TV adaptation of the book.
— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) June 21, 2016
Written alongside David Ritz, Smiley’s book centers around “Jackson’s campaign to recharge his career” and talks about the “hiring and firing managers and advisors, turning to and away from family members, fighting depression and drug dependency” before his sudden passing at the age of 50.
In a report by USA Today, while talking about the book, Smiley explained that he had a plane ticket and hotel reservation and was excited he was going to see Michael Jackson’s comeback performance at London’s O2 Arena in July 2009.
— Little, Brown and Co (@littlebrown) June 16, 2016
Smiley had been a Jackson fan since childhood and was friendly with Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and while he had never asked her a favor before, this time he made an exception.
The PBS talk-show host had to see the King of Pop‘s “This is It” concert, and Mrs. Jackson ensured him of good seats at the show. However, then came June 25 and the shocking death of Michael Jackson at the age of 50.
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It was just weeks before he was set to embark on his new tour that Jackson died. His passing was later ruled a homicide, and Conrad Murray, the physician who administered the fatal dose, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
“It hit me so hard,” Smiley said in a phone interview. “I was just undone. It came out of nowhere.”
According to Smiley, he wanted to understand how it happened and to literally “get inside Jackson’s head.” In their book, Smiley and co-author Ritz have attempted to do just that.
While the book is non-fiction, it does take a novelistic approach by speculating how Jackson was feeling at the time, what he was thinking and, most importantly, how he could not sleep in the last 16 weeks leading to his death.
The book, to be released on June 21 by Little Brown and Co., has been described as a “taut novelistic rendering of the final months in the pop superstar’s life.”
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) June 20, 2016
Now, as the seventh anniversary of Jackson’s untimely death approaches, it has been announced by Warner Bros. TV that a show is in development, based on the newly released book Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days.
As reported by Celebuzz, J.J. Abrams has recently been involved in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the Star Trek reboot, but he’s taking a different direction now with the new project under his Bad Robot Productions company.
Reportedly Ben Stephenson and David Brewington will act as executive producers and so far the show has yet to be acquired by a network. Abrams’ studio is set to run the show right through from broadcast, to cable and premium cable and streaming services.
Abrams will next be involved in Showtime’s Cameron Crowe music drama Roadies and HBO’s Westworld, both of which are due this year and will be wrapping up CBS’ Person of Interest.
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