Three months before Michael Jackson died, the superstar had committed to co-directing and financing a film about foster children. The drama entitled They Cage the Animals at Night was set to begin pre production after Jackson’s run performing in London.
The B-movie producer, writer and director Bryan Michael Stoller had said about Michael that ,”he was very excited about making movies and wanted his hands on everything, from working on screenplays to producing, to writing the music.” The two had been developing the concept for about seven years. The film would have been based on the 1985 book by Jennings Michael Burch, which was based on his life experience of being bounced around in the foster care system. Jackson had shared the book with Stoller seeing if he wanted to be involved a cinematic version.
“Michael told me often he felt like he grew up as an orphan, like a foster kid, because he never was in one home,” Stoller said. “To him every hotel was like a different foster home. He said he used to sit in the window and see kids playing outside and cry because he couldn’t be part of that.” But “insiders in the Jackson camp” have claimed that wasn’t any formal deal with Michael Jackson officially being involved. There is also the claim that Mel Gibson’s production company Icon was to develop the project in the 90s but pulled out, alledgedly, after Michael Jackson’s child molestation charges arose.
In the most recent attempt to make the film, Stoller said that Jackson would fund the film and do it as an “indie”, hoping to take to the studios when it was done.
Below is footage of Michael Jackson interviewing the author of the book at Neverland.