In recognition of its 25th anniversary, Spike Lee is putting together a documentary of Michael Jackson‘s Bad album.
The film will tell the story of of how the album came to be, the tour and iconic videos it spawned and the records it broke — an overall celebration of Jackson’s artistry and personality.
“With this ‘Bad’ project I was able to uncover just what made this such a huge, important coming of age in his career and unearth compelling stories surrounding the making of the album … the short films and the tour that may have never seen the light of day,” Lee said in a statement obtained by Rolling Stone.
The film will also feature music and video that very few — if anyone at all — have seen.
“We have footage in this documentary that no one’s ever seen, stuff that Michael shot himself, behind-the-scenes stuff,” Lee told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
“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,” he said, referring, of course, to Thriller, Jackson’s 100-plus million selling sixth album and Bad‘s predecessor.
Principal shooting on the film finished nearly a week ago, but it still has neither a title nor a release date. It is expected to hit theaters some time this year. Its release will be one of several commemorative acts marking the album’s anniversary, including Pepsi’s commissioning of several remixes of the title track and adornment of a billion soda cans with a Jackson silhouette. The album is also being re-released this September as part of a box set with a concert DVD and other items.
Lee says he also plans to make some slight changes to his annual Jackson birthday celebration at New York’s Prospect Park to honor the silver anniversary.
“This year we’re going to focus on the Bad album, we’re going to focus on the 25th anniversary, but at the same time we’re going to play his full catalog, including the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons. It’s going to be even bigger and better this year.”
More than just another feather in the already-decorated director’s hat, the film and birthday celebrations are a chance for Lee to recognize and pay homage to a man he considered a friend.
“I’m more than just a huge fan of Michael Jackson,” he said. “And having the chance to actually know him and work with him, I deeply care about his legacy.”