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Wednesday, 1 May, 2002, 18:19 GMT 19:19 UK
Jackson 'directing' first film
Jackson has previously paid for an Oscar
Jackson has previously paid for an Oscar
Pop star Michael Jackson is to make his big screen directing debut, according to reports.

The eccentric perfomer is said to be teaming up with writer and director Bryan Michael Stoller on a movie adaptation of a book called They Cage the Animals at Night, by Jennings Michael Burch.

The book is the true story of the author's account of being left at an orphanage and being moving around from one foster home to another.

The movie is said to be made by Mel Gibson's company, Icon Productions.

Michael always felt that he grew up as an orphan because, in a way, he missed out on his childhood

Bryan Michael Stoller
Mr Stoller told the Hollywood Reporter his involvement in the project came after Jackson saw a 1999 family film by him called Undercover Angel.

He told the trade paper: "Michael said he wanted to direct, that he liked my style and that we would complement each other as co-directors.

"He was the one who brought this book to me. It deals with orphans, and Michael always felt that he grew up as an orphan because, in a way, he missed out on his childhood.

"We're both big kids, and we feel that when it comes to their emotions, we'd be able to draw that out for the big screen."

Mr Stoller added the book deals with a boy who has a tough time and that the singer related to that.

Mel Gibson's company is said to be behind the movie
Mel Gibson's company is said to be behind the movie
Jackson said he could not wait to get started, adding: "I feel we have a wonderful team and this is a perfect marriage with Icon."

The script for the movie is due to be completed in about a month's time and Mr Stoller hopes the finished product could put the pair in line for an Oscar.

A few years ago Jackson paid more than 1m for producer David O Selznick's best picture Oscar for the classic film Gone With The Wind.

Mr Stoller said: "I joke with Michael that this time we're going to earn an Academy Award - he won't have to buy it."

It is not the first time that Jackson has tried his hand at the movie business.

Earlier this year his Neverland Entertainment company invested several million pounds in production and distribution company MDP Worldwide.

See also:

25 Apr 02 | Showbiz
Jackson rocks the US vote
05 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Jackson's life in the spotlight
05 Mar 01 | Entertainment
A life in pictures: Michael Jackson
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