Derek Luke To Play Johnnie Cochran In Lionsgate’s ‘Michael’

EXCLUSIVE: Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher) is the latest addition to Michael, the Michael Jackson biopic that Antoine Fuqua is directing for Lionsgate and Universal Pictures International, sources tell Deadline.

The actor will play famed attorney Johnnie Cochran, who repped Jackson in a 1993 child molestation case that was settled out of court. As previously announced, Jackson’s nephew Jaafar Jackson leads the ensemble as Michael, with Colman Domingo, Nia Long, Miles Teller, Laura Harrier and Juliano Krue Valdi among others set for key roles.

More from Deadline

Scripted by by John Logan, Michael promises to bring audiences a riveting and honest portrayal of the brilliant yet complicated man who became known worldwide as the King of Pop. The film will examine Jackson’s triumphs and tragedies — from his human side, to his public and private struggles, to the accusations and the 24/7 media microscope Jackson lived under, even at his artistic apex. Pic will also capture Michael’s undeniable creative genius, recreating his most memorable, iconic performances.

Others in the ensemble include Jamal R. Henderson, Jayden Harville, Tre Horton, Jaylen Lyndon Hunger, Rhyan Hill, Judah Edwards, Joseph David-Jones, Nathaniel Logan McIntyre, Larenz Tate, Kat Graham, Jessica Sula, Liv Symone, Kendrick Sampson, KeiLyn Durrel Jones, and Kevin Shinick.

Graham King is producing for GK Films, alongside the co-executors of the Michael Jackson estate, John Branca and John McClain, with Michael’s eldest son, Prince Jackson, working side-by-side with the filmmakers on set, on behalf of his siblings. Lionsgate is distributing the film domestically and in Japan, with Uni set to handle all other international territories. Pic’s slated for release worldwide on April 18, 2025.

Best known for his breakout starring role in Denzel Washington’s true-life drama Antwone Fisher, which brought him an Independent Spirit Award and numerous other accolades, Luke has also been seen in films including Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Captain America: The First Avenger, Madea Goes to Jail, Notorious, Miracle at St. Anna and Friday Night Lights, among others.

In television, Luke’s credits include 13 Reasons Why, The Purge, The Americans, Audience Network’s Rogue and Empire, to name a few. The thesp is repped by Gersh.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.