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White Actor to Play Michael Jackson in Comedy

Joseph Fiennes, a white actor, will play the late Michael Jackson, a black entertainer, in the production of "Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon." (AP File photos)
White Actor to Play Michael Jackson in Comedy
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“Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon” is a British comedy show based on an unconfirmed story of a road trip taken by Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando.

But no one is laughing at the casting of Joseph Fiennes in the role of Michael Jackson.

Joseph Fiennes is white. The late Michael Jackson was black.

Hollywood is already dealing with controversy about the “color” of the upcoming Academy Awards. Like last year, there is not a single African-American nominee for an acting award. The lack of diversity has led to a planned boycott of the so-called "white Oscars."

Now people are expressing their condemnation and shock about “Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon.”

A tweet Wednesday on BET’s Twitter page read: “A White Actor will play MJ. Because we aren't whitewashed enough in Hollywood, apparently.”

Another Twitterer, @nicomadden, posted this message: “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.”

Michael Jackson, known as the King of Pop, died in 2009 at age 50 of an accidental drug overdose. Jackson suffered from a condition called vitiligo that causes areas of a person’s skin to lose color. After Jackson’s death, investigators found a large amount of a skin lightening cream at his home.

“Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon” is based on a 2011 report in Vanity Fair magazine. It tells of a trip the three performers took just after the September 11 attacks in New York City. Michael Jackson had performed there the night before. The three reportedly shared a car and drove across the country.

Stockard Channing plays Elizabeth Taylor, and Brian Cox plays Marlon Brando. The show is set for broadcast later this year in Britain.

I’m Caty Weaver.