Angela Bassett recently revealed that her agents wanted her to turn down the role of Katherine Jackson in the ABC miniseries, “The Jacksons: An American Dream” due to the molestation allegations against Michael Jackson.
Jackson was accused, tried and acquitted in 2005 of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy. The Oscar-nominated actress spoke with the executive director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Roger Durling during a sit-down interview on Feb. 9. Bassett was at the festival to accept the 38th annual Montecito Award.
Bassett told Durling that her agents told her not to do the mini-series. “You know what, there’s a lot of allegations about Michael [Jackson] in the press, and we don’t think you should do this project,” the agents said.
Basset recalled telling her agents that she was not auditioning for the 1992 mini-series to play Michael Jackson, she was auditioning to play his mother.
“I remember telling my agents ‘No, no, no, I’m not going out for the role of Michael, I’m going out for the role of their mother,” said Bassett. “And no matter what, whatever the allegations, or whoever, whatever we think — one thing is true, that I believe, that I can see, is that they adore their mother. They revere their mother. And that, a reverence for motherhood, for mothers, that’s what I want to put out into the world.”
Bassett added that “The Jacksons: An American Dream” went on to have 40 million viewers on ABC. “It went on to have like 40 million viewers,” she said. “We don’t get those kinds of eyeballs on the show today.” Bassett currently stars on the CBS drama “9-1-1.”
The ABC series also starred Vanessa Williams, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Terrance Howard and Billy Dee Williams.
The “Black Panther” actress added that she had been a huge fan of The Jackson 5 since she was a child. “They were the first concert I ever went to as a little girl,” she recalled. “I had posters on my wall. Here’s one of them in the room, auditioning me to portray his mom. This was a crazy trip for me.”
Bassett made history when her performance in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” won her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The nomination is the first time an actor starring in a Marvel film has been recognized by the Academy.