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People Are Not Happy That Joseph Fiennes Is Going To Play Michael Jackson

They have many opinions.

Originally posted on
Updated on

It reported that the 22-minute special is based on a (possibly false) story originally reported in Vanity Fair of Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marlon Brando driving from New York to Ohio in an attempt to get home after 9/11.

But the thing that's really caught people's attention is that Jackson is to be played by...

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And it's fair to say a lot of people aren't happy with the casting.

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.

Wait wait wait. Joseph Fiennes is playing MJ? This wasn't a joke?

Remember in 1995 when Joseph Fiennes floated a statue of himself down the Thames? Oh right, sorry. It's just that they look so alike

Joseph Fiennes is playing Michael Jackson. Who's playing Diana Ross? Benedict Cumberbun?

Twitter: "Joseph Fiennes to play Michael Jackson" Me:

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They pointed out it might flag up wider problems with diversity.

Joseph Fiennes is playing Michael Jackson? Fab. Now we can all shut up about lack of diversity.

Congratulations to noted African-American actor Joseph Fiennes on being cast as Michael Jackson...

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.😒😡

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.

Fiennes, for his part, told Wenn: "It's a fun, light-hearted tongue-in-cheek road trip of what celebrity of that kind is like. But also it's rather beautiful and poignant about their relationships as well."

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Fiennes said: "I'm a white, middle-class guy from London," he said. "I'm as shocked as you may be. … It's kind of off the wall, but the writing is a delight."

He added: "[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."

A spokesperson for Sky Arts said: "Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon is a Sky Arts comedy which takes a light hearted look at a reportedly true event; Joseph Fiennes is cast as Michael Jackson. It is part of a series of comedies about unlikely stories from arts and cultural history. Sky Arts gives producers the creative freedom to cast roles as they wish, within the diversity framework which we have set."

CORRECTION

This post has been updated to clarify that Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon is a 22-minute comedy. A previous version stated that it was a "show" and a "drama."

Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alan White at alan.white@buzzfeed.com.

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