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EXCLUSIVE: Meet the Man Playing the King of Pop in Lifetime's 'Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland'

by Raphael Chestang 5:08 PM PST, February 24, 2017
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Meet the Man Playing the King of Pop in Lifetime's 'Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland'

The Lifetime biopic Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland has found its lead in M.J. tribute artist, Navi, and he sat down with ET to talk about the upcoming project.

The Trinidad native has had numerous plastic surgery operations, changing his nose, cheekbones and chin just to look more like the late King of Pop.

WATCH: Michael Jackson Is Getting the Lifetime Movie Treatment

"I used to work for him as a decoy, and I performed at his birthday parties," Navi told ET's Nischelle Turner. "Even when he went through the trials, I stood outside the courthouse and I stood there with a sign that said, 'Smooth but not a criminal.' To me it was important that I wanted Michael to know I believe in him."

The TV movie, based on the bestselling book Remember the Time, will focus on the last three years of Jackson's life, as told through the eyes of his two bodyguards, Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard.

Jackson's 18-year-old daughter Paris previously voiced her distaste for the now-canceled episode of Sky Arts' Urban Myths series centered on a road trip Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando reportedly took. Paris took issue with Joseph Fiennes' portrayal of Jackson, calling it "shameful." She has kept silent on Lifetime's upcoming movie, and while she has been invited to the set, Paris hasn't visited.

WATCH: 'Urban Myths' Episode Featuring Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson Is Cut Following Backlash

"I have spoken to the family in the past, but I haven't spoken to them about this project," Navi admitted. "But I believe that when this project is out, they will know it is a fair and true portrayal."

The movie will mark Navi's acting debut, but he told ET that when it's over, he will return to his true passion.

"I'm going back to pick up my glove, put on my shoes, and get back on stage," he said.

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