What do you get when you pair one of the most compelling documentarians in the film business with perhaps the greatest entertainer of the last century? You get film-making magic. That’s what’s in store with Spike Lee’s documentary on Michael Jackson and the making of the “Bad” album, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Lee said he got unlimited access to Michael’s vaults, providing him with priceless footage of the actor at work and even behind-the-scenes film that Michael took himself.
“We have footage in this documentary that no one’s ever seen, stuff that Michael shot himself, behind-the-scenes stuff,” Lee said in an interview Monday with AP. “We had complete access to the vaults of Michael Jackson. … He wrote 60 demos for the ‘Bad’ record. Only 11 made it. So we got to hear a lot of that stuff, too, so it was just a great experience.”
He added: “You don’t have to be a Michael Jackson-head to enjoy this.”
Lee’s documentary is expected to be released later this year as part of a slew of activities and celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of “Bad,” Michael’s follow-up to “Thriller,” still the top-selling album of all time. Jackson’s album is being rereleased on Sept. 18 with additional tracks, a DVD and other bonus material.
Lee said viewers of his documentary will see a rarely seen side of Michael.
“He had a great sense of humor, and he was funny — so you’ll see a lot of that stuff,” he said.
Among the artists to appear on Lee’s documentary will be Kanye West, Mariah Carey, L.A. Reid and Sheryl Crow, who was Jackson’s background singer on the “Bad” tour.
“We really divided it into two things: Artists today who were influenced by Michael, and then people who worked side by side — musicians, songwriters, technicians, engineers, people at the label, who were all committed to Michael, to the follow-up to the biggest record of all time, which still is ‘Thriller.’”