Last year it was announced that Joseph Fiennes would be portraying Michael Jackson in an upcoming British project, which led to accusation of “whitewashing.” Now, almost a year later, the actor makes his debut as the King of Pop in the trailer for Sky Art’s comedy series “Urban Myths.”
The satirical half-hour show retells supposed events in the lives of public figures, including the urban legend about a post-9/11 road trip between Jackson, Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor, which was written about in a 2011 Vanity Fair article. The recently released clip recreates the event with Stockard Channing as the “Cleopatra” actress and Brian Cox as Brando.
It also features many other well-known people including Eddie Marsan as Bob Dylan, Ben Chaplin as Cary Grant, Iwan Rheon as Adolf Hitler and Rupert Grint as “Hitler’s Friend.”
Fiennes previously spoke out about landing the controversial role, telling Entertainment Tonight last year, “[Jackson] definitely had an issue — a pigmentation issue — and that’s something I do believe. He was probably closer to my color than his original color.” Adding, “It’s a light comedy look. It’s not in any way malicious. It’s actually endearing.”
Ben Palmer, director of four episodes of the series, also defended the actor’s casting by telling The Guardian, “We were casting Michael Jackson in 2001 and that obviously is a challenge in terms of the physical resemblance. 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.”
Check out the “Urban Myths” trailer below.