Moonwalker! A fan favourite and an 80’s classic. But Michael’s original concept for Moonwalker was far different to the one we know and love. The original title was ‘The Smooth Criminal Story’ and was to based around the song title of the same name and would sit neatly inside Moonwalker as an extended piece. In entering the world of film for the second time, this time as the creator, producer and brains behind the project and in 1985 under the business ‘Smooth Pictures’, Michael began developing a story that was unique for its time and would have been amazing to watch.

As a starting point, Michael had placed himself as a kitchen worker in a cabaret club. (Yes, Michael Jackson as a chef!). The owner of the club, ‘Annie’ is a performer at the club and also its owner who was supporting of her kitchen worker’s dreams of becoming a star. However those dreams are put on hold when, for un-stated reasons the police burst in to Annie’s club searching for Michael. Annie is knocked down in the process. (-Annie, are you ok?)

Michael exits the club where he is surrounded by police who begin to shoot. Bullets destroy the club entrance as Michael makes a break for it! The chase is on as all police cars in the area are sent a photo of Michael, whom they must look out for. Running down streets, Michael is spotted and makes a quick turn down a dead end. The police corner Michael ready to shoot, but the captain instructs them to take Michael alive!

In jail, Michael is looking out through the bars wondering how he can escape. He sees a dove and the through the power of magic, he turns in to a dove himself and flies through the bars and out of the window to freedom, Landing in a tree, he climbs down (trademark socks on show) and morphs in to a car, the Bertone Stratos Zero and clears the scene. It’s not long before the chase is back on, this time with dogs. Devising an escape plan, Michael transforms in to a fighter plane. The transformation would have been ahead of its time, with mercury dripping down Michael’s face as he transitions.

As he flies away, Michael’s handwritten notes on that storyboards adds that “We now see a sea of police, stunned, feeling tricked again in disbelief this time.”

Looking for safety, he runs back to the Cabaret club, this time disguised as an older gentleman in a latex mask, where the evening’s performances are in full swing. Making his way through the backstage area, the camera cuts to a close up of Michael’s face and he is now on stage, in a bow tie and tuxedo and performs SMOOTH CRIMINAL with 1920’s gangster back up dancers on stage next to him.

During the performance, Michael spots the police in the bar searching for him. He keeps performing but watches the police at the same time. Finally the Captain looks to the stage and doesn’t notice Michael in the array of dancers. Michael uses this as his cue to slip out of the club and away to safety.

And there ends the original concept for the film. Variations of the script include Michael escaping the police across a beach front and also turning it to a rocket ship.

In the planning stages of the film, Michael was keen not only to study his craft, but become the best. He clips images of Bertone Stratos Zero cars from magazines and explored their dynamics and interior to determine how on screen, he could turn in to one. He was also intent on pushing the boundaries, creating a piece that he believed would be come a staple in the film industry like no other of its kind and as he put it “Setting a standard never to be equaled.”

Below you will see Michael’s desire to create on paper. These are the words and thoughts of a true visionary who saw boundaries as a challenge to be crossed.

The final result may not have been the blockbuster Michael intended or follow the same story idea, but this behind the scenes look demonstrates a hunger to create, to produce and to be the best.


These behind the scenes documents and more appeared at Kingvention – The European Convention celebrating Michael Jackson in London.

Source:  Pez Jax |

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