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AEG boss talks Jacko movie

By | Published on Monday 28 September 2009

The president of AEG has been talking about the ‘This Is It’ movie, the tour promoter’s consolation prize after losing its biggest booking – Michael Jackson – to the big syringe in the sky. As previously reported, the movie uses backstage footage shot by AEG during rehearsals for the big residency that never happened. Some of Jackon’s famously loony fans queued up in LA on Thursday just to be the first to get tickets to cinema screenings of the doc.

As tickets went on sale, AEG prez Tim Leiweke attended a press conference with some of those who had been involved in the planned Jacko show and who, of course, appear in the doc. According to Billboard, he said of the film: “You see the music, the studios, the rehearsals, the dancers, the auditions, the costumes. You see all of the behind-the-scenes, and then you finally see the last few days of the dress rehearsals, and you begin to see the genius of Michael: the dancing, the singing, the choreography, and his concept of creating a one-time performance that no one would ever forget”.

Despite denying those recent claims that the doc was being deliberately edited to show AEG in a good light – amid allegations they were excessively pushing a frail Jackson – Leiweke admitted his company is portrayed positively in the film, and that it might address some of the allegations made against the firm since Jacko’s demise.

Leiweke: “Some of the things that people have said about us, which are so untrue, this movie’s going to restore his legacy, and prove that we, in fact, gave Michael a second chance here. And an opportunity to make the kind of comeback he was dreaming of. And that we created an environment for him that was probably the best environment that the guy had had in the last ten or fifteen years of his life. And I’m very proud of the way we treated Michael, and very proud of the partnership that we had with him. And this movie is an opportunity to celebrate that, and get past all of the gossip and all of the innuendo”.

As the world awaits the official footage of Jackson’s final days, most media are concentrating on various other tapes of the late king of pop that have been surfacing in recent weeks, recordings of various media interviews he gave over the years, the more controversial bits of which never made it through to final edits, presumably because editors feared falling out with the singer’s people.

Disparaging comments about family members, detailed and intense allegations about the violent discipline he received at father Joe’s hand, and some wacky remarks about Hitler made the tabloids last week, though in yesterday’s News Of The World the unearthed interview of the day contained some interesting insights into the recording of his most acclaimed album, ‘Thriller’.

In an interview from the eighties he said the initial mixes of the album “sucked” to such an extent he nearly canned the whole venture, but that watching some kids play inspired him to see it through to the end. Or something. Jackson: “‘Thriller’ sounded so crap. The mixes sucked. When we listened to the whole album, there were tears… I just cried like a baby. I stormed out of the room and said, ‘We’re not releasing this’. [But] one of the maintenance crew in the studio had a bicycle, and so I took it and rode up to the schoolyard. I just watched the children play. When I came back I was ready to rule the world. I went into the studio and I turned them songs out”.