HBO just dropped the first trailer for the explosive Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland. The film has been under tons of scrutiny ever since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and it looks like the world will finally get to see it when it debuts on HBO next month.
Check out the trailer:
According to a press release from HBO:
The two-part documentary LEAVING NEVERLAND explores the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James “Jimmy” Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson. They and their families were invited into his wondrous world, entranced by the singer’s fairy-tale existence as his career reached its peak.
Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 37, and Robson, now 41, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, Leaving Neverland crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of their own.
James Safechuck was a child actor from Simi Valley, Calif. In 1986, when he was eight years old, he landed a role in a Pepsi commercial alongside Jackson. Immediately taken by Safechuck, Jackson became a cherished family friend within months.
Wade Robson was an amateur child dancer from Brisbane, Australia. In 1987, the five-year-old was granted the opportunity to meet Jackson backstage at his Brisbane show after winning a dance-alike contest. In 1990, Robson’s mother, Joy, followed up with Jackson, who invited the whole family to his home for the weekend, where their friendship was formed.
Jackson inserted himself into the families’ lives in separate but similar ways. His approach was gentle but deliberate, often manifesting as nothing but affection for the child. He became their most trusted friend, mentor and confidante, separately expressing his love for both boys, while slowly isolating them from their families.
While several outlets have reported years of inconsistent accounts from both accusers featured in the documentary, HBO seems to have decided that their stories are worth sharing with the world. The press release on the project explains that once both men reached adulthood and fathered their own children, old wounds were opened, prompting them to speak out.
From the beginning, Jackson impressed upon Robson and Safechuck that they had to keep their sexual contact a secret. Robson recalls believing Jackson when he told him they would both “go to jail for the rest of our lives” if anyone found out.
Meanwhile, the Michael Jackson estate has slammed the documentary ever since it was announced that it would premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Shortly after the Sundance premiere, the family released a statement.
“Michael Jackson is our brother and son. We are furious that the media, who without a shred of proof or single piece of physical evidence, chose to believe the word of two admitted liars over the word of hundreds of families and friends around the world who spent time with Michael, many at Neverland, and experienced his legendary kindness and global generosity,” the estate said.
“People have always loved to go after Michael. He was an easy target because he was unique. But Michael was subjected to a thorough investigation which included a surprise raid of Neverland and other properties as well as a jury trial where Michael was found to be COMPLETELY INNOCENT … There has never been one piece of proof of anything.”
A couple weeks back, the estate released a 10-page letter to HBO CEO via estate lawyer Howard Weitzman contending that Wade Robson and James Safechuck are lying and that inconsistencies in their stories in court documents prove this, according to the AP.
“Had HBO actually complied with the most basic of journalistic ethics—rather than just accept their salacious allegations at face value—it would have discovered so much more long before it ever got involved in this disgraceful project,” it read.
The two-part documentary is set to premiere on HBO on March 3 with the second installment hitting the network on March 4.
Will you watch?