Much has been written about how the unexpected death of Michael Jackson in 2009 caused the more troubling aspects of The King of Pop’s life to (however temporarily) fade from public memory. However, the star’s passing also drove much of the obsession of the less sallacious (but no less sensational) aspects of Jackson’s life from the spotlight, including his penchant for extravagant purchases and exotic pets — most famously, Bubbles, a chimpanzee who was the late pop star’s constant companion and (according to Jackson) best friend from the mid-1980s to the early-2000s
Now, a new stop-motion animated feature will tell the story of Jackson’s life during this tumultuous period from an unlikely perspective: Bubbles himself.
Bubbles will be produced by Community and Rick & Morty creator Dan Harmon, through his Starburns Industries production company. Starburns recently earned an Academy Award for Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa and was previously behind the cult-hit Adult Swim series Moral Orel and Mary Shelly’s Frankenhole. Despite the title and subject matter, the film will almost certainly not be aimed at children. Instead, Bubbles will likely enter into a growing renaissance of adult-targeted animated comedy that also includes Seth Rogen’s recently announced Sausage Party. The screenplay for the film was written several years ago by Isaac Adamson, and in 2015 was featured on The Black List, an annual ranking of what are supposedly the best unproduced screenplays in the film industry.
Adamson’s script was reviewed by ScriptShadow, which described his take on the material as surreal but seemingly compelling. The script presents Bubbles in a manner reminiscent of Brian Griffin from Family Guy, in as much as he is gifted with the vocabulary (via inner-monologue) of a highly educated human, but also possesses a limited understanding of the behavior of actual humans. Much of the humor is apparently derived from Bubbles not fully comprehending the events of Jackson’s life in the same way that the audience does: He believes The King of Pop to be an actual monarch, for example, because of his strange taste in clothing; and when Jackson returns home with his face bandaged from his frequent plastic-surgery appointments, Bubbles assumes that the “King” has been wounded in battle.
While such humor at the expense of the late singer will likely not go over well with many Jackson fans, the Jackson family is likely to be even less pleased — since the script presents them as the villains of the film. The rest of the story follows the pair as Bubbles becomes a mini-celebrity in his own right during his “Bad” world tour in the ’80s, but takes a sad turn when Michael moves to the Neverland Ranch and Bubbles becomes destructively jealous of the star’s attention being diverted by friends and visiting children; with the abuse allegations appearing during the third act.
In reality, Bubbles (as is often the case with pet chimpanzees) became hostile and violent as he grew older, and ultimately had to be moved to an animal sanctuary where he lives to this day. It is not known whether Jackson’s estate left any funds to provide for his continued care. It is unlikely that any members of the Jackson family will be involved in the making or promotion of the film, which will be produced by Abramson, Lee Stobby and Andrew Kortschak’s End Cue outfit along with Harmon and Starburns. No release date has yet been projected.
Source: The Wrap