Nia Long is set to star in Antoine Fuqua’s Michael Jackson biopic, Michael, and recently spoke about her initial thoughts in taking on the role.

Long was at the American Black Film Festival on Thursday where she took place in a fireside conversation for Ally, which was titled, “Money and Mindfulness: A Conversation with Nia Long.” It was moderated by Jack Howard (Ally’s Head of Money Wellness).

Howard asked Long how her both her upbringing and culture may impact the roles she take on.

“I think when you are a creative person, the work that you do is a reflection of who you are in that moment,” she said. “And I think the thing that I love most about my career is there’s a core authenticity that is unwavering that follows every woman that I play. And that is very intentional. It is also really hard to do because Hollywood wants you to do the same thing over and over and over again. And I made a choice that I would raise my children and then I would venture out into other things like producing and directing, but that I would never have someone else raising my kids.”

Jack Howard, Nicole Friday and Nia Long | Photo by Kelvin Bulluck / Nice Crowd

Specifically mentioning Michael, she said, “Like playing Katherine Jackson, I mean I was scared to death. I was so scared, but I knew that God put me in that, gave me that opportunity because he thought I was ready, right? Because think about her journey and what she’s been through being Michael Jackson’s mother. And I started to think about and I was like, “Wow, we do have some things in common.” And I just kind of put my fears to the side and I just prayed a lot and just said, “God, let me be the version of this character that you want me to be.” And I was able to tap to some of my own experiences, I was able to tap into the idea of loving your children so deeply that it just doesn’t matter what the world is saying about them.”

Long also called the project “pretty fantastic and amazing.”

“It had always been my dream to work with Antoine Fuqua, because I think he’s one of the most prolific directors of our time. And Graham King, who is the producer, is so passionate about the project that I was sold in five minutes. So I really am excited and blessed to be a part of something that’s going to be pretty important.”

The film, which will see Michael Jackson’s nephew, Jafaar, as the titular pop icon, also stars Colman Domingo, Miles Teller, Laura Harrier, Joseph-David Jones, Jessica Sula, Nathaniel Logan McIntyre and more.

The Lionsgate film hits theaters in April 2025.