Nia Long Speaks On Playing Katherine Jackson In ‘Michael’ Biopic: “I Was Scared To Death”

Nia Long explained her divine purpose in her upcoming role as Katherine Jackson in the anticipated Michael biopic.

Speaking on Ally’s Money and Mindfulness panel on Thursday (June 13) in Miami at the 2024 American Black Film Festival, the 53-year-old detailed how she realized her preparedness to step into the famed matriarch’s shoes.

“When you are a creative person, the work that you do is a reflection of who you are in that moment. I think the thing that I love most about my career is there is a core authenticity that is unwavering that follows every woman that I play, and that is very intentional,” began the veteran actress.

Nia Long attends a conversation with Nia Long about money and mindfulness during the 2024 American Black Film Festival at New World Center on June 13, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Ivan Apfel/Getty Images for ABFF

She continued to explain how that mindset led her to the aforementioned role.

“I’m playing Katherine Jackson. I was scared to death. I was so scared. But, I knew that God put me in that …gave me that opportunity because he thought I was ready, right? Because think about her journey and what she’s been through being Michael Jackson‘s mother. And I started to think about it and I was like ‘Wow, we do have things in common.’”

“I just kind of put my fears to the side and I just prayed a lot and said ‘God let me be the version of this character that you want me to be.’ I was able to tap into some of my own experiences. I was able to tap into the idea of loving your children so deeply that it just doesn’t matter what the world is saying about them.”

Jaafar Jackson as Michael Jackson in MICHAEL. Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur

Michael is led by Jaafar Jackson, who plays his uncle, the King of Pop. Additionally, Colman Domingo stars as Joe Jackson, with Kendrick Sampson, Larenz Tate, Kat Graham, Jessica Sula, Laura Harrier, and more filling out the remainder of the cast.

“Next April will be the opening of the Michael Jackson film, which is going to be pretty fantastic and amazing,” added Long later in the panel discussion.

“It had always been my dream to work with Antoine Fuqua because I think he’s one of the most prolific directors of our time, and Graham King who is the producer and so passionate about the project that I was sold in five minutes. I’m really excited and blessed to be a part of something that is gonna be pretty important.”

Michael is due in theaters on April 18, 2025.