With all the controversy over #OscarsSoWhite, now may not have been the best time to announce that a white actor has been cast as African-American pop star Michael Jackson.
According to The Guardian, Joseph Fiennes will play the late superstar in a made-for-TV drama to appear on the British channel Sky Arts. The TV movie centers around a fabled road trip in which Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando tried to get home to Los Angeles from New York after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
One of Jackson’s former employees insisted to Vanity Fair in 2011 that the trip did happen and that the trio “actually got as far as Ohio — all three of them, in a car they drove themselves!”
For some, the casting decision has been just as unbelievable as the idea that Jackson, Taylor and Brando (who supposedly insisted on frequent stops at fast food restaurants) would just hop in a car and take off cross-country.
As the debate rages on about the lack of quality roles for actors of color and thus the lack of representation at awards shows, one person tweeted, “Joseph Fiennes can play Michael Jackson. (A real person). But Idris can’t play James Bond (a fake spy for a fake agency)?”
“Grease’s” Stockard Channing has reportedly been cast as Taylor, and “Troy” star Brian Cox will appear as Brando.