'This is It': 'I'm happy for Michael' says director Ortega

This is It director Kenny Ortega told an audience at an Entertainment Weekly event in Los Angeles Monday night that he’s “happy for Michael” that the  film, which opened to $101 million worldwide last weekend, is now the highest grossing concert film in history. “Michael had filmmaking in his future,” Oretga said at EW‘s tribute to the legendary director and choreographer at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. “So I’m just glad that this film—even though he didn’t get to have that experience—has in fact made him a movie star.”

Ortega, who choreographed Dirty Dancing and directed all three High School Musical movies, was rehearsing Jackson’s planned 50-concert event in L.A. last summer when the singer died suddenly. (In the wake of that death, Sony bought the rehearsal footage and Ortega ultimately decided to direct the film.) Ortega, 59, had worked with Jackson in the 1990s and knew the singer well. Speaking to an audience of approximately 200 in the EW lounge — part of this week’s American Film Institute Festival in Hollywood — Ortega gave Jackson credit for helping resurrect the movie musical through his short-film style music videos for songs such as Thriller and Smooth Criminal. “We wouldn’t have movie musicals this day if it wasn’t for Michael Jackson,” Ortega said.

The director also recalled personal memories of Jackson, including that Jackson had two or three personal colognes that he frequently used, and that during rehearsals for This is It, dancers would line up to get hugs from Jackson just because of how good he smelled. One afternoon, when Ortega had been working hard all morning, and was covered in sweat, he went to Jackson’s trailer to talk to him. As Jackson approached Ortega to hug him, Ortega said, “You don’t want to hug me. I’m sweaty. I stink.” Jackson replied, “That’s ok,” whipped out a bottle of his cologne, and spritzed Ortega with it. Ortega smiled at the memory. “That whole rest of the day, everybody just was hugging me and saying ‘You smell like Michael!'” he said.


Comments (123 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3 5
  • Brandon

    Michael Jackson is so awesome.

    • reno

      What Kenny Ortega really meant: YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE MORE MONEY FOR ME, IT’S MINE..ALLLLLL MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • janet

        how can you say this. If you would have done research before making this comment, 90% of the proceeds goes to Michael Jackson’s Estate

  • jm

    THANK YOU, KENNY ORTEGA!!!MICHAEL JACKSON “THIS IS IT” MOVIE, AWESOME MOVIE, I GOT CLOSURE.. I WILL ALWAYS MISS MICHAEL JACKSON, “KING OF POP”. RIP, MJ. LOVE U ALWAYS

    • miss k

      I second that. Thank MJ for uniting the world in your music. You’ll forever be missed. We love you and RIP.

    • Amy

      Only Kenny Ortega could have handled this project. He knew the footage,the show and of course, MJ thoroughly, inside and out. Nice spotlight on the band, the singers and the dancers. They were incredible! Kenny gave us a reminder of why we fell in love with Michael in the 1st place.

    • CookVoter

      I agree with JM. I’ve been a fan for 40 years and this movie has brought me closure. Thank you Kenny Ortega for remaining loyal to Michael and making this beautiful tribute to his memory. So lucky you were to collaborate with Michael and be part of his world. I loved seeing Michael at work and how he related to all the dancers and musicians. I saw for myself his level of enthusiasm and happiness in putting this production together. There’s a lot of Oscar buzz out there and I really hope Kenny and the film take home a number of those awards.

    • reno

      So what janet, don’t be STUPID, hes still making money off it it isnt he ????????

  • Mark

    I’m just so happy and glad that we are honoring his achievements and talents that he brought to his music and can put behind all the scandal and disenchantment. The world needs more messages of love and wonder (magic) and Michael Jackson brought us that. There were those that can claim once to have lived during the time of Mozart. I am happy to have lived during the time of Michael Jackson. :-)

  • tika

    Thank you, Kenny Ortega for the amazing film of Michael Jackson, the genius of an era I live. There won’t be another of his callibre ever again. Here in Italy, people applause in the theatre and did not want to leave until all credits shown to the end of the movie. This film should win an Oscar.

  • Sara

    Thank you, Kenny, for brilliantly displaying Michael Jackson, the human being. It brings me comfort seeing that finally Michael is shown for the person he really was. It’s just sad that this is what it took and that we didn’t appreciate him while we had him. Thank you for sharing your memories of Michael. Michael’s fans love you for it.

  • Elizabeth

    I went to see the film w/my mother and we loved it. It was just amazing to see all that went into it.

    I wasn’t a big Ortega fan because Disney had pimped him out so hard for all the HSM stuff, but I’m a fan now.

  • Mark

    Jackson-Smackson….What’s the big deal about this person….When you die everybody seems to embrace you…You wouldn’t be hearing all this GARBAGE if he was still alive….He was an exceptional dancer but as a vocalist….he SUCKED! Thanks for listening

    • John

      Man, wait until you are mature enough and you will understand.

    • Perez

      You sound ridiculous with your observations. Michaels vocal abilities were part of his phenomena. He used it like an instrument. From the high to the lows. THe vocals on “Black or White” “Don’t stop till you get Enough” and “Human Nature” are three totally different voices. and he controlled each one with ease. Don’t believe me? go listen to each of them…Now, better yet, you try to do the same and make your silly comments again. I didn’t think so.

    • Cheri

      Some of us grew up with Michael. We love him now like we did when we were kids.
      I disagree with you, I LOVE listening to MJ’s voice!

      • Bobby

        And Michael loved you when you were a kid(that’s just sick).

    • Ray

      You clearly haven’t seen the movie! It’s funny that after his death the only thing people could talk about was how “frail” and “weak” he was. I have never seen people SHUT UP so quickly. Since his movie came up I have yet to hear a story about how his shows would have been anything less than earth shattering–and this is from a man who was admittedly restrained and holding back in rehearsals. It just shows everyone, and especially the media, how strong and amazing this man truly was!

    • laura

      hahaha ! is ur comment a challenge to see the reaction of fans ? Please !

      • Gina A

        Annal, I am 54 and was there from the beginning. Michael was an international James Brown he let his “skills” speak for him.

        There will always be haters and there will always be fans.But there will never be another Michael Joseph Jackson.

        Truth be told some former MJ haters are reluctantly coming over to the other side, because his genious and love for people cannot be hidden! Mike if I could trade places with you, I honestly would. We hadn’t seen the best of you yet. REST IN THE LORD MICHAEL the ARCHANGEL!!!!!!!

    • AnnaL

      Mark, I’m almost 50 years old. I remember Michael as a child with the Jackson5. You should look up some performances from the ’60s and ’70s. The fact that Michael’s music and dance was around for four decades is an achievement that will be hard to surpass by anyone. YOU JUST DON’T GET IT. What music do you listen to now? Just curious.

    • JFB

      Well, no one is perfect and we all will leave this world the same way we came in,with nothing. Everyone has a gift that God gave us,we all fall and we all fail. MJ had a talent,maybe not perfect but who is? Let the man lay in peace and remember the good things he gave to many regardless if you liked it or not. Maybe you would like to mention your achievements or talents for public scrutiny!

    • miss k

      Clearly you don’t listen to his music. The reason he is the King of Pop is that he can actually dance AND sing. He was a genuine performer. He didn’t need the computer enhancement that so many artists use today. He had a beautiful, unique, amazing voice. I agree with AnnaL, you don’t get it at all.

    • sc341

      Michael Jackson was a SUPERIOR VOCALIST read some old reviews on his albums. Even people who didn’t care for his music said so. You probably think the Jonas Brothers can sing better than MJ. Maybe you’re tone deaf.

    • LoveTV

      Get your ears checked fool!!!

    • Amy

      Mark, you’re only embraced when you’re a good person. Michael may have been a little lost, but overall a very good hearted guy. AND you did hear this stuff when he was alive– many people loved him. Unfortunately the love comes out more after a person’s gone. Maybe someday you’ll understand.

    • AW4MJ

      Michael jackson: a wonderful, loving, kindhearted, beautiful person that we are all better for witnessing his life, experiencing his gifts, talents & genius as a fabulous, exquisite, timeless dancer, a splendid, awesome,outstanding singer/composer, & humanitarian. I for one (I know there are tens of millions of you who join me in this) am thankful he shared it with all of us! He is the soundtrack to my life. :)
      Wish I knew what Cologne he wore. Wonder if it was a personal signature scent made just for him? Would love to know what scent they were all raving over!

    • janet

      Mark,

      You need to grow up! Ignore him people some people are just immature and like to come on these sites to AGGRAVATE others and if we give him (Mark) the attention he so craves it will make him ever so happy. He needs to GROW UP!

    • JStew

      Mark, either you are tone deaf or your taste in music ranges from “William Hung from American Idol” to “Biz Markie – You got what I need”, for Great Vocals…If this is for attention and your 5 minutes of “fame”. Well you are now Famous for the one person NO ONE WILL TAKE SERIOUS

      • TANDY

        NO LOSER (jstew) THAT HONOR ALREADY WENT TO YOU!!!!!

  • Andre

    I always wondered what he smelled like. Any idea which colognes he used?

    • KD

      Andre,
      Michael wore “bal a versailes” colonge

      • oreo

        French for, ‘I’m an emaciated, drug-addicted self-loathing, pedophile’

      • KD

        Even the haters like oreo should go see this movie…it just might prevent them from choking on their own bad karma.

      • bal a versailes

        oreo, how old are you, since your bashing sounded so LAME and BORING?

        French for your name: MORON.

        You are a disgrace for white males.

      • JStew

        Oh and OREO is American for STUPID

    • tbm

      bal a versailes may be something he’s worn, but i have that scent, and it kinda smells like old lady perfume, so i doubt it. i heard he wears (sorry, wore…) Tom Ford Black Orchid.

      • oreo

        DON’T CONFUSE ME WITH YOUR MAMA JSTEW

  • winstun glasgo

    To become a star one has to fit the definition of extraordinary. Michael has surpassed that standard.Just to be able to post this comment makes me feel like a star.

    • oreo

      TO KD, AND BAL A VERSAILES: COME ON YOU TWO…WAKE UP AND SMELL THE PROPOFOL!!

      • ONOUDINT

        to bal a versailes i think MJ was disgrace enough for all white males.

      • Amy

        Oreo, why waste ur negativity here? Plenty of other blogs to hate on babe. Just like Elvis, Marilyn, and James Dean– MJ will be frozen in time & remembered forever, regardless of his faults.

  • Robert Gray

    Kenny, I was at the world premier last week, and have seen the movie now 3 times. You, get the ultimate assist in bringing the most powerful messaage of love , peace and music… bigger than Woodstock..THANK YOU for allowing us to see who MJ really was. xxxoo Robert

    • OREO

      FREE WORLD AMY BABE IT YOU DONT LIKE IT DONT READ IT SWEETIE

  • Virginia Kissner_Hernandez

    Michael, just the sound of his name and what feeling it brings to my heart. He helped heal the HEARTS OF SO MANY. through his MUSIC. hE BROUGHT ALL COLORS OF THE WORLD TOGETHER. HE HELPED PEOPLE LEARN TO LET GO OF THE HURT AND PAIN THAT WAS CAUSED BY SO MANY NOT EXCEPTING THAT WE ARE ALL GODS CHILDREN YOUNG AND OLD. HE HELPES ALL THE LOST CHILDREN FEEL LIKE THEY BELONGED SOMEWHERE AND THAT THEY SHOULD BE PROUD OF WHO THEY ARE NO MATTER WHAT COLOR OF SKIN THEY WERE. HE HELPED HEAL THE WORLD!!!! FOR THOSE THAT DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT MICHAEL WAS OR DID FOR ALL HUMANITY IT IS THEIR LOST FOR THEY WILL ONLY SEE WHAT HE DID WHEN THEY EXPERIENCE THE PAIN THAT WE AS CHILDREN OF GOD GO THROUGH WHEN WE ARE TAUGHT THAT WE ARE NOT AS GOOD AS THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO US BECAUSE OF COLOR. WHICH IS WHY I AM WRITING THIS. TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO STOOD UP TO HOW YOUR HEART FELT TO BE ONE OF THOSE WHO WAS RAISED IN A WORLD WHERE COLOR IS SO POWERFUL.THAT IS WHY i DECIDED TO WALK THE PATH AND HOLD MY HEAD UP HIGH AND BE PROUD OF NOT ONLY WHO I AM BUT FOR THE COLOR I AM I CHOSE TO WALKED ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET AND HAVE MY BABIES OF MIXED RACES AS DO SO MANY OF US FOR WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD AND WE ARE LOVED AND WE ARE STRONG AND WE ARE POWERFUL WE HAVE MORE POWER THAN ANY ONE RACE. FOR HIS MUSIC TELLS US ALL WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD AND THE GOOD LORD WHO EVER HE MAY BE IS SHINING DOWN UPON US WITH HIS LOVE AND LIGHT.AND TELLING US AND SHOWING US THAT WITH OUR CREATOR ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. THAT IS WHY SO MANY PEOPLE LOVE MICHAEL, AND ALWAYS WILL. AND RIGHT NOW HE IS BEING HONORED NOT ONLY HERE ON EARTH BUT IN HEAVEN. HE HAS EARNED HIS WINGS! HAVE YOU? SENDING AN ABUNDANCE OF LOVE TO ALL EVEN THE NON BELIEVERS. THERE WILL COME A DAY WHEN YOU WILL OPEN YOUR EYES TO SEE ALL OF WHAT YOU HAVE MISSED. HOPEFULLY THE GOOD LORD WILL ALLOW YOU MORE TIME HERE ON EARTH TO SHARE WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED WITH OTHER SO THAT ONE DAY YOU TOO WILL EARN YOUR WINGS.
    PEACE TO THE WORLD AND TO ALL.FORGIVENESS AND LOVE ARE WHAT MAKE THIS WORLD GO ROUND. AND IT IS SOMETHING WE ALL NEED TO DO MORE OF.
    OUR GOOD LORD LOVES AND FORGIVES US! THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HELPED MICHAEL BE THE MAN THAT HE WAS AND STILL IS TODAY. WE ONLY LEARN WHAT WE ARE TAUGHT IT IS UP TO US TO FINE TUNE ALL THE REST SO THAT WE CAN BE THE BEST THAT THE GOOD LORD INTENDED US TO BE.SING YOU R SONG AND SING IT LOUD, LOUD ENOUGH TO LET GO OF THE THINGS THAT HOLD YOU BACK FROM BEING THE NEXT HEALER OF THE WORLD. HOW MANY LIVES HAVE YOU CHANGED FOR THE BETTER OF MANKIND? STEP UP TO THE PLATE. THERE IS ROOM FOR EVERYONE.

    • reno

      Ummmmm, could you repeat that Virginia??????

      • Amy

        LOL!! Good one, Reno.

    • ginger starks

      virgina you are so right,he was a terrific person,singer now those in heaven get to hear him,what a blessing they are having,and the LORD forgives everything,even tho i dont beleive he ever did any of those things..then when geroldo finally said after all yrs of checking he does now beleive all those rumors were false..to bad he couldnt have said it when mike was a live

  • K.S

    This Is It, is such a fantastic movie words can’t describe. Everybody should see it again and again.

    Kenny is a wonderful spokes person and seemed to have been an amazing and true friend to the King of Pop.

  • Monique Jones

    What an honor to be a friend and Mr. Ortega is a true friend. Not like those the saught every media opportunity to disgrace Mr. Jackson soon after his untimely death. Those like Depauc (?) whatever his last name is. A true friend does just what Mr. Ortega and the others of his inner circle that has not broken his trust in them. They are being blessed today because of there faithfullness as friends. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Mr. Jackson treated people with kindness and respect, but he was not treated that way by many who took advantage of his kindness. Kenney Ortega is a great friend and by honoring his friendship with Mr. Jackson, he is being honored as well. He is not Mr. Jackson’s month peice bringing his message of love, peace, music, and creativity to the entire world.

    • Sandy

      A quick note to Monique Jones Tue 11/03/09 9:18 AM. With all due respect being a friend to someone also includes telling that friend things they may not want to hear but need to hear. Friendship is not about endless affirmation. It’s also about offering critism with love…L.O.V.E. I believe Depak Chopra, who I think you are referencing, was doing just that. He had his critisms about Michael but he was far more critical of those around him, doctors etc., who were only in his life to feed off his celebrity. He didn’t love MJ any less than Kenny Ortega.

  • KD

    I was dazzled by Michael’s rehearsals and the showman that he was in this film but it is the little things, the unscripted Michael that I enjoyed in this film.
    His paternal connection to his young crew, when he tells them not to be nervous and to his guitarist..”we’re right here for you…it’s your moment to shine”
    and he was very polite when he needed something different from them.
    I love the ending when he does that MJ stance with outstretched arms.
    I feel like I need to be a better person in the world because of him.
    Thank you Mr. Ortega.

  • Monique Jones

    correction: Mr. Kenney Ortega is NOW Mr. Jacksons’s mouth piece, bringing Mr. Jackson’s message of love, eace, music, and creativity to the entire world. sorry for the typo.

Page: 1 2 3 5
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos

Advertisement

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP