The teenage son of late pop star Michael Jackson has signed up to be a correspondent for the Entertainment Tonight television show, following in the footsteps of his show business family.
Prince Jackson, 16, was to debut on Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday, interviewing actors James Franco, Zach Braff and director Sam Raimi as they promote their upcoming film Oz the Great and Powerful, the programme said.
Prince, who was born Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., is the oldest of Michael Jackson’s three children. Jackson told the syndicated tabloid news show that he wants to eventually get into the film business. “I’m looking to become well-rounded as a producer, director, screenwriter and actor,” he said.
His first assignment, interviewing the director and stars of Oz the Great and Powerful, will air in segments on the programme throughout the remainder of the week.
Jackson got the gig in part due to Brooke Anderson, one of ET’s correspondents. The television host said she and the teenager shared a “mutual connection,” and she has been itching to do something with Jackson since she met him.
“I thought him interviewing people from Oz would be great because his dad was in The Wiz, he’s a fan of The Wizard of Oz and he wants to get into producing and directing,” Anderson said in a phone interview on Monday evening.
The timing also worked out well for the high school student, who did filming over the long holiday weekend when classes were not in session.
To help him prepare for the joint interview with director Raimi and actors Franco and Braff, Anderson said she sat with Jackson and went over potential questions. She also gave him tips on how to stay relaxed in front of the camera and even did some push-ups with him to get rid of any tension.
“He really did not need that much coaching. This may sound strange because he’s 16, but he was very smooth and confident,” Anderson said.
During the interview, Anderson said all three of the stars were aware of who Jackson was but did not turn the tables and ask him about his father. “Zach said, ‘Is this really your first interview?’” Anderson recalled. “He created a really great energy, and they were all surprised by how knowledgeable he was about the film industry. He knew technical 3-D terms that I had no idea about.”
Though Jackson does not yet have a permanent gig with Entertainment Tonight, Anderson is hopeful he’ll return on a “case-by-case” basis for kid-themed show business events, like the upcoming Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
“The fact that he’s the King of Pop’s son may crack the door open for him, but he has a wisdom about him,” she said. “He said, ‘I owe that all to my dad.’” Jackson’s sister Paris, 14, signed up in 2011 to star in a movie called Lundon’s Bridge and the Three Keys, based on a young adult fantasy novel. The film is still in development.
Jackson died unexpectedly at his home in Los Angeles in June 2009 at age 50 from an overdose of the powerful anaesthetic propofol and sedatives.