If you dreamed up a list of actors who would one day play Michael Jackson, you likely wouldn't include Joseph Fiennes. And yet here we are. The Guardian reports that the Shakespeare in Love actor will portray the King of Pop in a TV movie set to air in the U.K.
The plot centers around a possibly-fictional story of Jackson taking a road trip with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando to escape New York City after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Stockard Channing will play Taylor and Brian Cox will play Brando. The story, which may or may not be an urban legend, was reported in Vanity Fair in 2011. Some fun tidbits include Brando's insistence on constantly stopping for fast food on their path from New York to Ohio. But one of Taylor's friends and assistants says it's not true, since she didn't join her two friends on the road trip. (Either way, Zadie Smith's fictionalization of the maybe-fake trip makes the whole saga worth it.)
The movie is being sold as a road-trip comedy and an exploration of superstardom. "It's a fun, light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek road trip of what celebrity of that kind is like," Fiennes told WENN. "But also it's rather beautiful and poignant about their relationships as well."
Fiennes' casting struck a nerve, since he's, well, white. The news came just as the Oscars nominated an all-white slate of actors and Hollywood is having an introspective moment about diversity. "Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson is a symptom of a deeper sickness that moviemakers are only now beginning to treat," Stereo Williams wrote at The Daily Beast. And, of course, Twitter had a field day.
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