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Joseph Fiennes Cast As Michael Jackson? Really?

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Jackson and Fiennes

 

The news that Joseph Fiennes has been cast to play pop superstar Michael Jackson in an UK TV movie, has sure made people react! It’s a very odd choice, simply because white actor Joseph Fiennes looks nothing like the King of Pop, even after his 1,000 plastic surgeries and decades of vitiligo, the skin disease who turned him whiter and whiter over the years.

The movie focused on a supposed road trip taken by Jackson, Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor after the 9/11 terror attacks, which in itself sounds like a farce. The three of them were in New York the night before the terrorist attack (I saw them at MSG the night of 9/10 -Ed) and couldn’t leave because air traffic was shut down, and they allegedly decided to take the road by themselves. I would have loved to be in the car with this crazy trio! Stockard Channing will play Taylor, and Brian Cox will play Brando, but how can Fiennes possibly incarnate Jackson? He will certainly need a lot of makeup and I just wonder how they will erase his strong nose? CGI is the new Blackface these days.

Fans and celebrities have reacted angrily to the casting, and Fiennes, who was reportedly shocked to be cast as Jackson, has declared that the King of Pop was ‘probably closer to my color than his original color’. He explained Entertainment Tonight

‘I’m a white, middle-class guy from London – I’m as shocked [about the casting] as you might be. It’s a light comedy look. It’s not in any way malicious. It’s actually endearing. And the more I actually looked at Michael – it’s great, as an actor, to have so much to copy and look at in interviews – the more I kind of fell in love with him.’

But Twitter had a field day with the news using the hashtag #whitewashing. I understand the strong reaction but let’s calm down, there are two things to consider here: First, it’s a goofy and surrealistic comedy, we are not even sure these three actually took the road in a car that they drove themselves, stopping at every fast food restaurants at Brando’s demand!

Then, Michael Jackson has always been very ambiguous regarding his race, if he had vitiligo, he was also bleaching his skin with Benoquin cream to make it look more uniform and he underwent numerous surgeries to make his African -American features disappear. He also married white women and at least two of his children are not his but were very probably fathered by some white guy(s)… he obviously had a problem with his appearance and Quincy Jones even said in an interview:’It’s ridiculous, man! Chemical peels and all of it. And I don’t understand it. But he obviously didn’t want to be black.’

Still, the news was not received very well by black artists, from Chris Brown to Angela Bassett (who cleverly asked to be cast as Elizabeth Taylor)… especially at a time when the Oscar nominations haven’t been whiter.

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