Joseph Fiennes will play the late pop superstar Michael Jackson in a British TV comedy show.
According to The Guardian, the half-hour comedy show, titled “Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon,” revolves around a road trip from New York to Ohio in which Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando tried to get home after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The story goes on when Jackson invited the pair to his concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City. At the time, air travel to and from NYC was cancelled due to the terrorist attacks. The three allegedly rented a car and began their journey back to California.
One former employee of Jackson told Vanity Fair in 2011 that the road trip did happen. The three “actually got as far as Ohio.” All three of them were in a car that they drove themselves, the employee revealed. However, Taylor’s rep claimed that the actress stayed in New York at that time, CBS reported.
Sky Arts, a British channel, will air the show which stars Fiennes as Jackson, Stockard Channing as Taylor, and Brian Cox as Brando.
But the announcement quickly sparked controversy. The reason – Fiennes is not Black to play the iconic Black-American musician.
CBS noted activist DeRay Mckesson comment as : “They seriously couldn’t find a black actor to play Michael Jackson?”
Even Fiennes himself told E! News he is astonished as anybody else, saying: “I’m a white, middle-class guy from London. I’m as shocked as you may be.”
As mentioned on CNN, there’s a lack of major roles for actors of color and the apparent lack of representation at awards shows. One person also tweeted, “Joseph Fiennes can play Michael Jackson. (A real person). But Idris can’t play James Bond (a fake spy for a fake agency)?”
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
Check out other tweets on Fiennes playing Jackson below.
I know it's hard to see black people as human, but Michael Jackson wasn't a fictional character. https://t.co/6WxgulWo3s
— Tora Shae (@BlackMajiik) January 27, 2016
I'm TOTALLY on board with Joseph Fiennes playing Michael Jackson IF AND ONLY IF Angela Bassett is cast as Elizabeth Taylor
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) January 27, 2016
Fiennes previously starred in “Shakespeare in Love,” “Enemy at the Gates” and “American Horror Story.”