Michael Jackson´s ´One More Chance´ — A Dream that Turned into a Nightmare — Part 2/4

  by Charles Thomson on sawfnews.com

November 30, 2010

Michael Jackson dreamt of a triumphant return to showbiz after years of seclusion with the music video of One More Chance in 2003, only to have the dream turn into his worst nightmare.

Michael Jackson dreamt of a triumphant return to showbiz after years of seclusion with the music video of One More Chance in 2003, only to have the dream turn into his worst nightmare. Charles Thomson speaks to the performer's colleagues, collaborators and co-stars about his little-known final music video.

This is Part 2 of a four part feature

1. Engineering Michael Jackson's Comeback

2. Michael Jackson's Dream Takes Shape

3.Filming of One More Chance

4. Dream Return Turns into a Nightmare

Michael Jackson's Dream Takes Shape

In October 2003 Michael Jackson flew to Las Vegas to begin a series of in-person appearances that would mark the beginning of his elaborate comeback plans. In keeping with his new accessible image he also took part in several autograph signing sessions, the proceeds from which went to charity. On Saturday 25th October he was presented with the key to Las Vegas at the Desert Passage Mall and three days later he appeared at the Radio Music Awards to debut his new charity single, What More Can I Give.
One More Chance Music Video

But most excitingly for the star's fans, Jackson was in town to record a new music video. A new greatest hits compilation called Number Ones was due to be released on November 18th and, thinking that it would fulfill his contractual obligations to Sony, Jackson had contributed an unreleased track, One More Chance, and agreed to promote it as a single. Seeing the opportunity to fulfill another contractual obligation at the same time - he owed CBS a performance - Jackson decided to record an accompanying music video. The video would debut on November 26th at the end of a CBS special about the star and then go into rotation elsewhere.

After recording the video Jackson was set to embark on what Stuart Backerman describes as a 'triumphant publicity tour' across Europe, Africa and South America. "We were going for three months," says the publicist. "We were going to do all kinds of autograph sessions, record signings and fan events and we were going to do something at Harrods in London, too."

"He was going to give Muhammad Ali an award at the Bambi Awards in Germany," adds Dieter Wiesner. "We also had a plan to do something with Nelson Mandela."

Nick Brandt, a seasoned Jackson collaborator, was scheduled to direct the new video. Brandt had worked on numerous short films with the star in the past - most famously on the Earth Song video, which combined Jackson's strong environmental views with the director's acclaimed wildlife photography. Their most recent outing had been 2001's Cry, a video Jackson reportedly refused to appear in due to his conflict with Sony.
Turning his Back to Music in Pursuit of Film

The shoot would take place at the CMX Productions studio and the concept was simple. The song was a yearning ballad about lost love in which Jackson pleaded with an ex-girlfriend for 'one more chance at love'. The video would feature a unique role reversal in which an audience would stand onstage and watch Jackson as he performed the track in an empty, upscale nightclub, hopping banisters and jumping on tables. The set-up seemed to have little correlation with the song and appeared to be more of a comment on the press and public's perpetual invasion into Jackson's privacy - a common theme in the star's videos - essentially showing a crowd of bystanders watching over Jackson in an intimate, off-stage moment, transfixed by his heartbreak.

Jackson technically owed CBS a performance so the aim was to create a hybrid that would satisfy the broadcaster and also work as a music video. An idea was hatched to give the video a live feeling by following Jackson seamlessly through the club rather than cutting from scene to scene in the typical music video style.

"We had five cameras rolling on him at all times," says a senior crew member, who asked to remain anonymous after speaking without record label permission. "The idea was to try to capture Michael, as much as possible, doing one routine through the club, to give it kind of a live feeling. It would literally flow from one camera to the next. We also had kind of a limited time with Michael because he would set his own schedule, so we also decided to capture it that way to make sure we could get it all shot cohesively."

Running the production on a tight schedule and a tight budget, the crew got one rehearsal day with Jackson. "Michael came in that day to do dance rehearsals with Nick and to work out how he would move around the club," says the crew member. "That was where we determined which tables he would jump on so we could light them properly and so on. So that was probably about two to three hours of just Nick and other key crew members working with Michael - maybe four hours. "Watching his process with Nick was quite inspiring. He really liked to create with Nick. He was involved in everything. He was obviously an experienced artist in music videos and knew what the process was all about, knew who the key people were to talk to. I mean, he and the crew had a definite conversation about composition and lighting and how to capture various dance moves with the camera and what angles to use. He was truly an artist. He didn't just show up and not care. He was definitely excited to be there and involved in the process and really wanted to create something special."

Jackson's manager Dieter Wiesner, however, says the singer wasn't quite as excited as he seemed; much of the video had been devised in the star's absence and he was annoyed by the modest budget. "Michael was not too happy about it," he says. "It was a relaxed situation but it was not what Michael really wanted to do. He looked still for the biggest thing and this was not something he would pick. It was not one of his high class things he did before."

Wiesner says Jackson was also unhappy with the set's resemblance to one of his best known videos from the 1980s. "When we arrived there, the set was already done. He was saying, 'This is like Smooth Criminal'. But he did his job. I think when he started to do something, he did it right. He was not so happy but he had to deliver something and that's what he did."

Michael Jackson dreamt of a triumphant return to showbiz after years of seclusion with the music video of One More Chance in 2003, only to have the dream turn into his worst nightmare.

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