A Michael Jackson TV movie role in a British comedy series starring Joseph Fiennes as the late pop star has been widely criticized on Twitter.
The TV series, Urban Myths, received flak on Twitter soon after Sky Arts debuted its trailer on Wednesday. In the series, Jackson appears alongside several historical figures, including Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali, Bob Dylan, Cary Grant, Dr. Leary, Samuel Beckett, and Adolf Hitler.
In Urban Myth, Jackson is shown taking a road trip with Liz Taylor and Marlon Brando, supposedly in the aftermath of the 9/11 bombing.
Michael Jackson’s TV movie appearance as Fiennes has been slammed since Sky announced plans for the project last year. Amid accusation of whitewashing, Fiennes said he understood why the decision to cast him as Jackson was being criticized.
“I knew the sensitivity, especially to Michael’s fans and to Michael’s family. It doesn’t negate who he was,” Fiennes told The Hollywood Reporter.
Fiennes has admitted that he was shocked to receive the role. He, however, noted that Jackson was “closer to my color than his original color,” adding that the show is not malicious but endearing.
Nonetheless, the Michael Jackson TV movie portrayal has received a barrage of criticism on Twitter. It has been described as both racist and bizarre by critics.
Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson? Suppose it makes as much sense as Tom Cruise portraying the 6'5" 260lb Jack Reacher#UrbanMyths
— Paul Grey (@paulmgrey) January 11, 2017
yeah cuz choosing a white guy to play a black man is such a great idea #urbanmyths
— Morgan Crockett (@kanonv03) January 11, 2017
— Adam Ramsey (@AdamRamsey86) January 11, 2017
Joseph Fiennes looking more like like Dirty Diana than The King of Pop in that #UrbanMyths trailer.
— Andrew Santiago (@AndrewSantiago1) January 11, 2017
#UrbanMyths is an EIGHT EPISODE mini series. Joseph Fiennes has the nerve to defend playing Michael in this film. He is now on my list.
— Trenae. (@TrenaeCimone) January 11, 2017
While some have questioned the reason Fiennes was chosen to play Michael Jackson in the TV movie, others have lambasted his appearance.
— GangstaRaptor (@PolitiRaptor) January 11, 2017
— Brigitte Krause (@TheBrigitteEdit) January 11, 2017
— Paul Briffett (@BriffPS) January 11, 2017
Michael Jackson once told Oprah Winfrey during an interview that he would prefer to be portrayed by an African-American actor if a movie is made about his life, the Inquisitr reported.
Urban Myths, which was directed by Ben Palmer, depicts several historical stories in a comical and fabled manner.
The Michael Jackson TV movie story is actually based on factual events. Vanity Fair first reported on the trip involving Jackson, Taylor, and Brando after interviewing Taylor’s former assistant Tim Mendelson in 2011. Jackson is said to have invited Taylor and Brando to his concerts in Madison Square Garden before the September 2001 terrorist attack occurred. With all planes grounded in New York, the trio decided to drive a rental car to Ohio to get out of the city.
In light of several critics questioning the decision to cast Fiennes as Michael Jackson in Urban Myths, the director of the TV series has defended the move, according to the Guardian.
Ben Palmer noted that Fiennes was chosen to play the role because of his acting abilities and not due to his resemblance to Jackson.
“We were casting Michael Jackson in 2001 and that obviously is a challenge in terms of physical resemblance,” Palmer explained. “We were really looking for the performance that could unlock the spirit, and we really think Joe Fiennes has done that. He’s given a really sweet, nuanced, characterful performance.”
It remains to be seen whether fans will have a change of heart after watching the episode of the TV series involving Michael Jackson. Urban Myths is set to start airing on January 19 on Sky Arts.
The brouhaha over the portrayal of King of Pop could spurn a much-awaited biopic about the late icon. Many reasons have been brought up to explain why there is no Michael Jackson movie yet, including the uphill battle to secure the rights to carry out such a project.
Nonetheless, there have been several talks about a Michael Jackson movie over the years. Some of the actors whose names have surfaced as possibly choices to play Jackson are Donald Glover, Chris Tucker, Eddie Murphy, Crispin Glover, and Andre 3000.
Let us know what you think of the Michael Jackson TV movie in the comments section below.
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