Michael Jackson’s Thriller made history as one of the most cinematic music videos of all time. Now it may make history as the only music video to inspire a big-budget, feature-length film. Deadline reports that a number of studios are bidding on the rights to make a Thriller movie. Kenny Ortega (High School Musical) is currently hooked to direct while Jeremy Garelick (The Hangover) is set to write the screenplay. The film will have a budget under $50 million.
Ortega is most famously known for his High School Musical movies, which made a star out of Zac Efron, but the director also helmed the cult 1990s Halloween movie Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Middler and Sarah Jessica Parker as witches who hope to regain their youth by sucking the life out of children. He also directed and choreographed Michael Jackson’s This Is It, which chronicles the singer’s preparation for his final tour.
The plot of the Thriller movie is still unknown, but it’s presumed that Vincent Price’s voice will be used just as it was in the 14-minute music video. John Landis (Animal House, Coming to America) directed the original music video, which had Michael Jackson taking a young woman to the movies only to transform into a zombie and dance in sync with a group of rhythmically-gifted undead folks. Rod Temperton, who wrote the Thriller song, is also involved in the film.
GK Films, Fox 2000, Lionsgate, and Summit Entertainment are all bidding on the film, which will not be possible unless a deal can be made with Michael Jackson’s estate, though such a deal may be forthcoming.
This isn’t the only Michael Jackson news. Cirque du Soleil is rumored to be discussing some live Jackson shows. Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock are also pondering a movie about the singer’s childhood. Finally, a MMO massively multiplayer King of Pop game is in the works.