The Curious Case of Omer Bhatti, the Man Who Would be King (of Pop)

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Omer Bhatti, 25, is Michael Jackson's son. Except he's not. It depends on whom you believe: Joe Jackson, who planted the young man in the family section at MJ's memorial service in July, confirming to an interviewer that Bhatti was the product of the King of Pop's Norwegian fling in 1983? Or Bhatti himself, an aspiring rapper who's been cited second-hand in flimsy gossip reports denying Jackson's paternity? DNA tests may or may not be forthcoming, but really, no better potential for validation exists than the one floated this week by the British tabloids: Omer Bhatti is the family's choice to play Jackson in a biopic. Right.

Setting aside the matters of music rights, funding and logistics, casting look-alike would-be love children isn't exactly the kind of tactic that gets a high-profile project like this fast-tracked. Which is fine -- it's merely a rumor in The Sun after all, which means it's likely bullshit anyway -- though this Bhatti fellow does seem to have the hook-up for something or other. Most sources agree Jackson moved Bhatti and his family to Neverland in the '90s, where the boy's mother became a nanny and his "father" became Jackson's driver. More scurrilous whispers suggest they shared a bed while the folks lived elsewhere on the property, but you know how that goes.

In any case, basic estate law suggests that were he in fact Jackson's only adult son, Bhatti would have a fairly sizable stake -- and influence -- in the making of any films or other projects incorporating the singer's likeness or life story. (Not including This is It, of course, rights to which concert promoters AEG Live bought from the Jackson estate before his death and subsequently sold to Sony. The family does have final approval over the edit, however.) Even if The Sun is full of it, the idea of Bhatti playing MJ in a movie seems as realistic as that of casting anyone else, if only because he's one blood test away from potentially being the last thing standing between an eventual Jackson biopic and its global audience. Any heavy-hitting lawyer with a pulse should be on to this dude by now, who's (surprise!) currently sequestered with the family in Los Angeles.

Anyway, just throwing it out there. Not bad for a Norwegian kid.

· Michael Jackson's Secret "Lovechild" to Play the Star in Film [Sun via Guardian]



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