Joseph Fiennes Discusses His Controversial Casting As Michael Jackson

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The protests over the lack of diversity in the Academy Awards have undoubtedly made things rather tough for Joseph Fiennes, the actor who has been cast to play Michael Jackson in an upcoming drama movie.

The problem? His skin color. We all know that Jackson “bleached out” the color of his skin over the years, going from his ebony black to a paler-than-most-white-people-white in less than thirty years. However, he was born as a black person. So, it’s rather unclear why Fiennes has been chosen for the role. Fortunately, he was courageous enough to open up about the casting amid the uncomfortable situation concerning the “White Oscars.” Here’s what he had to say.

The actor talked about why he has been chosen for the role and what the movie will be like. We know that the film follows Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando on a road trip from New York to Ohio shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. The actor described the film as a “light tongue-and-cheek look at the pop culture icons” and admitted that it was no small surprise to him that he was chosen for the role of the black musician. He argued, however, that he does indeed believe that Jackson was suffering from a pigmentation issue and that at the time in which the movie takes place, Jackson was probably closer to Fiennes’ skin color than his original one.

Fiennes is cast along with Stockard Channing (Elizabeth Taylor) and Brian Cox, who will play Marlon Brando. It’s still relatively uncertain whether this road trip ever actually took place, as the source material is nothing more than a Vanity Fair article from 2011. A representative for Elizabeth Taylor claimed that she was most certainly in New York at the time of the attacks. The theme of the film, according to Fiennes, is a certain commentary on the perils of fame that Brando, Taylor and Jackson are sure to have endured.

One additional thing that has to be considered, though, is MJ’s wish concerning the portrayal of his character. He stated in an interview with Oprah way back in 1993 that he proudly identified as a black person and that he definitely wouldn’t approve the casting of a white person to play him.

Check out the interview here:

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