Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson
Joseph Fiennes is cast as Michael Jackson in a TV programme for Sky Arts. (Sky Arts (formerly known as Artsworld) is an art-oriented television channel offering 24 hours a day of programmes dedicated to arts. including theatrical performances, movies, documentaries and music (such as opera performances and classical and jazz sessions). The channel is available via Sky, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk TV)
The actor plays the singer in the comedy about a supposed road trip taken by Jackson, Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Some fans have reacted angrily to the casting, but Fiennes said he thought Jackson was “probably closer to my colour than his original colour”. Fiennes said he believed Jackson – who died in 2009 – had a “pigmentation issue” with his skin, so the issue of race should not come into play. –
“It’s a light comedy look. It’s not in any way malicious. It’s actually endearing. And the more I actually looked at Michael – it’s great, as an actor, to have so much to copy and look at in interviews – the more I kind of fell in love with him.”
Describing the plot of the 30-minute programme – titled Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon – Fiennes said: “Michael and two of his best buddies, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, happened to be in New York the night before 9/11.
“I don’t know if this is an urban legend or if it’s true, but the three of them couldn’t get out because air space was shut down, so the three of them jumped in a car and went on a road trip.”
Stockard Channing, who is best known for her roles in TV drama The West Wing and musical film Grease, is playing Taylor in the comedy with Scottish actor Brian Cox starring as Brando.