Sony announced that acclaimed journalist and filmmaker Nelson George will be directing a documentary centered around Michael Jackson’s career-defining album “Thriller,” as part of its 40th-anniversary celebration.
The currently untitled documentary will chronicle the point when the King of Pop reached the height of his stardom, and when he turned into a pop culture phenomenon. Sony says it will include never-before-seen footage and candid interviews as it tells how the singer’s work become woven into the American culture and how it continues to influence today’s music, television, dance, and fashion.
“The release of ‘Thriller’ redefined Michael Jackson, taking him from teen star to adult superstar, who composed memorable songs, sang beautifully and reached the highest level of on-stage performance,” Nelson George said in a press release. “The album, and the short films they inspired, created a new template for marrying music and image. It’s been a privilege to explore this extraordinary album and revisit its magic.”
George has written extensively on Jackson during his career and is a well-known music writer, author, filmmaker, and music historian. He wrote “The Michael Jackson Story,” a biography published in 1983, and “Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson,” which extensively describes the album.
“Thriller,” Jackson’s second studio album under the Epic Records label, received 12 Grammy nominations and won eight, including Album of the Year in 1984. That same year, the musician also won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards. Over 100 million copies of the album have been sold worldwide since its release, making it the first to get a triple diamond rating from the Recording Industry Association of America. According to Sony, “Billie Jean,” one of the songs in the “Thriller” album, stands as the most-streamed Michael Jackson song and the music video for the single “Thriller” remains the only one of its genre and format to be included in the prestigious National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Films listed in the registry are meticulously preserved by the largest library in the US and only “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films” get into the list, according to the agency’s website.