When allegations of sexual abuse by Michael Jackson involving young boys surfaced in 1993, many found it hard to believe that he could be guilty of such unspeakable acts. Filmmaker Dan Reed’s two-part documentary film Leaving Neverland explores the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James “Jimmy” Safechuck, at age 10, and Wade Robson, at age 7, who were both befriended by the star. They and their families were invited into his singular and wondrous world, entranced by the singer’s fairy-tale existence as his career reached its peak.
Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 40, and Robson, now 36, as well as their mothers, wives, and siblings, the film crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of his own.
Produced and directed by Dan Reed (HBO’s Emmy-nominated Three Days of Terror: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks and Terror at the Mall), the documentary recently had its world premiere in the Special Events section at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
Leaving Neverland was produced and directed by Dan Reed; film editor, Jules Cornell; assistant producer, Marguerite Gaudin; cinematographer, Dan Reed; composer, Chad Hobson; music producer, Steve McLaughlin. For HBO Documentary Films: executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller. For Channel 4: commissioning editors, Daniel Pearl, Tom Porter and Dorothy Byrne.