Joseph Fiennes Defends Michael Jackson Casting: “He Was Closer To My Color Than His Original Color”
Joseph Fiennes is defending his casting as Michael Jackson in an upcoming television movie.
As Gossip Cop reported, it was revealed on Tuesday that Fiennes will play the late King of Pop for a TV film in the U.K. Called Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, it will recount the supposed road trip Jackson took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando to leave New York City after 9/11. Stockard Channing has signed on to portray Taylor, while Brando will be portrayed by Brian Cox.
After the news broke, a backlash erupted on Twitter over Fiennes’ casting, with many questioning why a white actor was chosen to play a black entertainer. In an interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” he now acknowledges, “I’m a white, middle-class guy from London. I’m as shocked as you may be.”
That said, Fiennes adds, “[Jackson] definitely had an issue — a pigmentation issue — and that’s something I do believe. He was probably closer to my color than his original color.” The Shakespeare In Love star further stresses that the project is “not in any way malicious,” but “actually endearing.”
In response to the outrage, broadcaster Sky Arts says in a statement that their network “puts the integrity of the creative vision at the heart of all its original commission,” and they “believe in giving producers the creative freedom to cast roles as they wish, within the diversity framework which we have set.” The new controversy comes as a debate rages on about this year’s Academy Awards and a lack of diversity in Hollywood after black actors were snubbed from the Oscars nominations for the second year in a row.