Michael Jackson had many reasons to put on his 50 This Is It shows in London. He wanted to do it “because it’s meaningful, because there are powerful reasons behind an idea,” according to [news id="1624516"]director Kenny Ortega[/news]. But he also wanted to show his three kids, Blanket, Paris and Prince, what kind of entertainer their superstar dad was.
“When I first came onto the project, he said it was important that This Is It is the time for us to remind the planet of all of our responsibility to the earth and to each other,” choreographer Travis Payne told MTV News. “And he also said he was excited to do it because he was still young enough to do it and his children were now old enough to appreciate what it was that he had loved for so many years.”
“Michael Jackson’s This Is It,” a documentary based on footage shot during the singer’s final days as he prepared for the London shows, opens for a two-week theatrical run starting Wednesday.
Payne worked with Jackson extensively for more than a decade; he choreographed his HIStory world tour in 1996 and his 1997 short film “Ghosts.” He said that there was never a moment in working on the This Is It shows that Jackson didn’t remain a “consummate professional.”
“Every time we set out to create a production, he wanted it to be the best that it possibly could. There was no exception,” Payne explained. “He wanted it to be the best show the world had ever seen, and he wanted it so much, and it was such a loss that he wasn’t able to make it to that first night.”
The duo reconnected while working on the shows, bonding over old times and remembering their past collaborations. They would spend their downtime hanging out and looking on the Internet for source material to inspire their newest effort.
“I really enjoyed being able to go on the Internet with him and show him performances we had done in, like, 1993 in Mexico City. And just to be able to pull up anything he could think of — all types of music and imagery and inspirational footage that helped in preparation for the show,” Payne recalled. “And he was so fascinated by what was available now with the new technology — he just loved that.”
Don’t miss “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” Premiere Special, airing on MTV and VH1 on Tuesday, October 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET! “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” opens in a limited engagement on October 27 and and wide on October 28.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Michael Jackson’s This Is It.”