*Spike Lee is turning his attention to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album for his next project.
The filmmaker, who worked directed the King of Pop’s video for “They Don’t Care about Us” and considered him a friend, poured through footage of the singer for the documentary “Bad 25,” which celebrates the album’s 25th anniversary this year. Spike says even he learned some new things about Jackson from the “treasure chest of findings.”
“We have footage in this documentary that no one’s ever seen, stuff that Michael shot himself, behind-the-scenes stuff,” he said in an interview Monday with the Detroit Free Press. “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.”
He added: “You don’t have to be a Michael Jackson-head to enjoy this.”
Lee’s documentary will be part of a flood of material to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the “Bad” album, Jackson’s follow-up to “Thriller” that included such hits as “Smooth Criminal,” “The Way You Make Me Feel” and the title track. As previously reported, the album is being rereleased on Sept.18 with additional tracks, a DVD and other bonus material; Lee’s film is due to come out later this year, but no date has been set.
Besides Jackson’s artistry, Lee said the documentary will show a more personal side of the late legend.
“He had a great sense of humor, and he was funny — so you’ll see a lot of that stuff,” he said.
Lee interviewed people ranging from Kanye West to Mariah Carey to Sheryl Crow, who was Jackson’s background singer on the “Bad” tour.
“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, which still is ‘Thriller.’”
Besides the documentary, Lee also plans to hold his now annual birthday tribute to Jackson in Brooklyn, N.Y, on Aug. 25; Jackson would have turned 54 this year.
“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,” he said. “It’s going to be even bigger and better this year.
Below, the Spike Lee-directed video for Michael Jackson’s single “They Don’t Care About Us.”