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Spike Lee looks back on Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’

Updated: December 24, 2012 6:59AM

With “Bad25,” an in-depth look at the creative process behind Michael Jackson’s 1987 album, director Spike Lee re-introduces us to the staggeringly gifted young man the world knew before all the circuses and scandals.

“For too long, people focused on that other stuff,” Lee says. “When you do that with an artist, you do it to the detriment of the art.”

The documentary airs at 8:30 p.m. Thursday on WLS-Channel 7, and a longer version is expected on DVD early next year.

“Of all my documentaries, this one will be the most watched ever,” Lee says. “Thanksgiving night in America? That’s huge.”

Though Lee worked with Jackson on short films for the single “They Don’t Care About Us “in 1996, “we weren’t close — I’m not going to front. He was going through some things then.”

Lee spoke with musicians and filmmakers who collaborated with Jackson on “Bad,” among them Martin Scorsese. There’s also commentary from stars who were influenced by him, among them Mariah Carey and Kanye West.

“People at the top of their fields make it look so easy,” Lee says. “You think Michael Jordan came out of the womb dunking, or Frank Sinatra was born with that voice. But these people bust their [butts]. Michael Jackson sang for his supper from the time he was 5.”

Gannett News Service

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