LONDON (Reuters) - Reality TV star and concert promoter David Gest has promised fans a fresh insight into Michael Jackson in his documentary about the late “king of pop” which has its premiere in London on Wednesday.
Gest has teamed up with Universal Pictures to make “Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon,” released this week on Blu-ray and DVD with the blessing of Jackson’s mother Katherine.
“This is not a rehashed story,” Gest told Reuters in a recent interview to promote the picture. “It’s totally new in what you learn.”
The producer, a long-time friend of the “Thriller” singer, is also involved in a singing and spoken-world tribute tour to Jackson which kicks off in Britain next spring.
His projects are part of a series of Jackson-related events that have been staged, screened or planned since the star died in June 2009.
“Michael Jackson’s This Is It,” a 2009 documentary film about rehearsals for his comeback tour which never took place, made more than $260 million at the global box office.
A posthumous album entitled “Immortal” is due out this month, a $60 million Cirque du Soleil extravaganza recently launched in Canada and Wales hosted a tribute gig last month attended by Jackson’s mother and three children.
Jackson, who was 50 when he died of an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol which he used as a sleep aid, was one of the most successful recording artists of all time.
Asked if he felt such projects were merely attempts to cash in on the singer’s name, Gest replied:
“There’s a place if it tells a story that nobody knows and you enlighten the public (as) to who he is.
“I think if a project is interesting and new and different people are fascinated by Michael Jackson,” the American added.
“I think the Cirque du Soleil (show) is brilliant. I think people will by entertained (by my film). This film is so different because I would say 90 percent of it is new information you have never heard.
“You see who the man was behind the music.”
The Life of an Icon features interviews with Katherine Jackson, the singer’s siblings Tito and Rebbie and friends and colleagues including Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick and Whitney Houston.
Tito discusses what the family went through during the child molestation trial in 2005 where his brother was eventually acquitted on all counts.
The film traces Jackson from his breakthrough in the Jackson 5 to his rise to fame as a solo artist through to his sudden death in Los Angeles.
“You see Katherine Jackson in a totally different light,” said Gest. “She’s very honest and she’s very open and you really feel for her, especially when you see her talking about his death and how it affected her.”
Gest promised amusing anecdotes as well as moving recollections.
One, he said, involved Houston recalling a visit she made to Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in California where she was involved in an embarrassing mealtime mix-up between Jackson and his pet chimpanzee Bubbles.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato