Colman Domingo to Play Joe Jackson in Michael Jackson Biopic

Joe Jackson managed the legendary Jackson 5 and daughters Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet during the 1960s through the '80s.

After receiving his first Oscar nomination for his role in Rustin, Colman Domingo is gearing up for another groundbreaking performance. 

Lionsgate and Universal Pictures International announced on Thursday that Domingo, 54, will take on the role of the late Joe Jackson in the upcoming Michael Jackson biopic, Michael. Joe managed his sons in the legendary Jackson 5 and daughters Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet during the 1960s through the '80s.

In a press release, Domingo expressed his excitement about being part of a film that delves into the complicated soul of the iconic King of Pop and his profound impact on music and culture globally. 

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

"Not only am I fortunate to have a rich, complex, and flawed character to portray in Joe Jackson, but I also have a front-row seat for Jaafar’s incredible transformation," Domingo stated. "There is something divine about the way that Jaafar is channeling his late uncle. His talent and embodiment of Michael’s essence is simply on another level."

Joe Jackson and Michael Jackson in 1973. - Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

Producer Graham King praised Domingo's screen presence and force of will, stating, "Few actors present themselves with Colman’s undeniable talent. We're so fortunate to have an actor with his undeniable talent portraying Joe Jackson on screen. We couldn't be more excited to have him join us on this journey."

The biopic will be directed by Antoine Fuqua, who commended Domingo's "incredible range" as an actor, and expressed gratitude for working with an actor with the passion and ability to portray the many sides of Joe Jackson: a husband, a father, and a manager.

Lucy Nicholson/AFP/Getty Images

Scheduled for release on April 18, 2025, the film will star Jaafar Jackson, Michael Jackson's real-life nephew, in the title role. Jaafar, the son of Jermaine Jackson, performed alongside his famous uncles for years. In an interview with EW, Fuqua said he was "blown away" by Jaafar's portrayal of his uncle. "It's uncanny how much he's like Michael. Sounds like him, dances like him, sings. It's really uncanny."

Joe Jackson, a former boxer and guitarist, played a pivotal role in launching the Jackson 5 to superstardom by securing a recording contract with Motown Records in 1969. He died in 2018 at age 69.

Domingo, after winning an Emmy for his role in Euphoria and gaining further accolades for his performances in Zola and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, is among the first-timers in the 2024 Oscar nominations for his role as gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin in the George C. Wolfe-directed biopic, Rustin. He will be competing in the leading actor category alongside Bradley Cooper, Paul Giamatti, Cillian Murphy, and Jeffrey Wright.

The actor spoke with ET's Kevin Frazier on Tuesday, shortly after the nominations for the 96th Academy Awards were announced. 

"It's the work that we hope to do as actors," Domingo said of telling Rustin's story in the film. "We wish we're given an opportunity like this. And now, acknowledgment like this, that's the icing on the cake."

"He's no longer marginalized in history books," he added of his character, who was also an advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped organize the 1963 March on Washington. "His efforts, what he did, what he gave, what he dedicated his life to, mattered and it matters to many people. People recognize it now, and if I've been any small part... I would say, we've changed the course of history. We've righted some wrongs."