Ever since the release of Leaving Neverland, in which two men accuse Michael Jackson of sexual abuse, no celebrity who’s dared to express their support of the singer has managed to survive unscathed. And yet, that hasn’t stopped Johnny Depp from voluntarily wading into troubled waters: The actor has boldly chosen to produce a musical about Jackson’s life… told from the perspective of the singer’s signature sequined glove.
Aptly titled For the Love of a Glove: An Unauthorized Musical Fable About the Life of Michael Jackson, As Told By His Glove, the musical is being described as “a fresh, revisionist look at the strange forces that shaped Jackson and the scandals that bedeviled him.” Before the playwright Julien Nitzberg met Depp, through working with his production company Infinitum Nihil on a different biopic, he’d been trying to bring the concept to life for a full 17 years. “A major TV network wanted me to write a [Jackson] movie … but the question came up [about] how to deal with the child-abuse allegations,” Nitzberg told Page Six. “I said, how’s this? Everything MJ has been accused of has actually been caused by his glove, which is actually an alien from outer space [and] feeds on virgin boy blood. They laughed and said, ‘Can you do the normal version?'” Nitzberg, who found their proposal “morally kind of repugnant,” declined.
The playwright’s determination paid off. With Depp’s backing, the production will stay true to Nitzberg’s original vision, complete with life-size puppets of the Jackson 5 and others among Jackson’s coterie, including Donny Osmond, Emmanuel Lewis, Bubbles the Chimp, and Corey Feldman. To say that the latter, who repeatedly defended Jackson before Leaving Neverland‘s release, is less than thrilled with the news might be an understatement: “WTF DID I JUST READ?!? IS THIS REALLY A THING? AND WTF IS WRONG W DEPP THAT HE WOULD WANT 2 PRODUCE THIS??,” read part of an all-caps screed he tweeted last week.
Apart from the life-size puppets, the cast so far remains a mystery. Since the production has already racked up more than enough controversy, here’s hoping that Nitzberg and Depp have at the very least learned from the mistakes of the British TV network that decided Jackson, who was adamant that white actors shouldn’t portray him on-screen, should be played by Joseph Fiennes.