British actor Joseph Fiennes will portray the legendary King of Pop Michael Jackson in an one off 30 minute comedy which is part of the Urban Myths TV show depicting his life, according to new reports. As many may suspect Fiennes is a white male. Jackson is Black.
This casting choice seems to spit in the face of those talking about increasing diversity in Hollywood and in the British film industry. In fact, the #OscarsSoWhite movement has highlighted the undervaluation of Black actors and actresses in roles that have shown off their talent.
Actors like Jada Pinkett Smith and Idris Elba have made strong stances in Hollywood and the British film industry by announcing a boycott and talking to Parliament, respectively. Why would anyone cast a white actor when there are talented Black British actors available? The show runners must realize that Fiennes’ portrayal of Jackson is Blackface and culturally repulsive. Just in case, Twitter reminded them.
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) January 27, 2016
Joseph Fiennes can play Michael Jackson. (A real person). But Idris can't play James Bond (a fake spy for a fake agency)? Cool, cool, cool.
— Prentice Penny (@The_A_Prentice) January 27, 2016
Like… this is so ridiculous that it's ALMOST funny. White people are now trolling us. Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson, dude.
— Awesomely Luvvie (@Luvvie) January 26, 2016
Twitter: "Joseph Fiennes to play Michael Jackson" Me: pic.twitter.com/o20MuCzvYX
— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) January 27, 2016
So Joseph Fiennes (A WHITE DUDE!) is gunna play Michael Jackson… I say Denzel Washington plays Elvis in the next movie just to be fair.??
— Nico Madden (@_nicomadden) January 27, 2016
I can't even comment on this Michael Jackson/Joseph Fiennes thing. It's so ridiculous that it feels like we're all being punk'd
— Black Girl Nerds (@BlackGirlNerds) January 27, 2016
— CampbellX (@CampbellX) January 25, 2016
joseph fiennes better NOT play Michael Jackson if he knows whats good for him. What a fucking insult.
— little simz (@keyedhiscar) January 11, 2016
The fact that the Joseph Fiennes & Charlie Hunnam whitewashing announcements are made during #OscarsSoWhite campaign says a whole lot.
— Lexi Alexander (@Lexialex) January 27, 2016
Oddly enough, it won’t be the first time I’ll see Joseph Fiennes portray a man of color. I saw him 20 years ago as Jesus in a London play.
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) January 26, 2016
The story goes that Jackson invited actors Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando to his concert at Madison Square Garden. Allegedly, in September 2001, Jackson, Taylor and Brando were driving from New York to Ohio in an attempt to get home following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in NYC.
“I got the script the other day,” Fiennes told WENN. “It’s a challenge. It’s a comedy. It doesn’t poke mean fun, but it’s a story, possibly urban legend, whereby Michael, Marlon Brando and Liz Taylor were all together the day before 9/11 doing a concert. Airspace was shut down and they couldn’t get out and Michael had the bright idea to go to hire a car and drive.”
For those who long for Blackface shenanigans, the episode will broadcast on British TV on Sky Arts.