HBO Shares Trailer for Controversial Michael Jackson Documentary 'Leaving Neverland'

The film has been the subject of much controversy, with Michael Jackson's family releasing multiple statements condemning it.

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Leaving Neverland, the controversial HBO doc that premiered at Sundance to immediate discourse last month, now has a trailer.

The network shared the official trailer for the two-part production Tuesday. Catch it above.

And here's the official synopsis via HBO:

Leaving Neverland is a two-part documentary exploring the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson. Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 37, and Robson, now 41, 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. Directed by Dan Reed.

Earlier this month, the Michael Jackson estate urged HBO to shelve the documentary entirely, calling Dan Reed's film "one-sided" and "sensationalist." Through attorney Howard Weitzman, the estate also characterized the film as part of a larger "cacophony" of tabloids. "We know that HBO is facing serious competitive pressures from Netflix, Amazon and other more modern content providers, but to stoop to this level to regain an audience is disgraceful," they said. The family has released multiple statements in response to the film.

Reed, meanwhile, detailed his interviewing methods in a January chat with Vulture. Citing his 30 years of experience of documentary experience, Reed said he makes no claims of "always" being able to tell when someone is telling the truth. He has, however, developed a technique that he believes puts stories to the test. 

"The way I imagine it is that when people sit down and tell a story, their mind is looking at a real thing that happened to them, right?" he said last month. "And that real thing is a 360-degree solid thing. So, at any one point you can turn them back to that thing, and they can re-interrogate it and tell you something new about it. They don't have to make it up."

Early reviews for the film, out March 3, have been largely kind to Reed's work. Writing for IndieWire, critic David Ehrlich said Leaving Neverland—while "hardly great cinema"—is an "eloquent and straightforward" documentary.

"There's a reason why this film's Sundance premiere was attended by a (small) band of protestors, and why so many people across the world refused to let the rumors interfere with their love for Jackson," Ehrlich said in his review. "It's not easy to reconcile a living god with the foibles of a troubled human being; at a certain point, the two almost become mutually exclusive."

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