Joseph Fiennes will play Michael Jackson in an upcoming TV comedy, fueling a controversy in the entertainment industry over opportunities for black artists. Bob Mezan reports.
Black or White? Actor Fiennes cast to play singer Michael Jackson
Joseph Fiennes has been cast as Michael Jackson in an upcoming TV comedy, set to air on British satellite TV channel Sky Arts. The decision fuels a controversy in the entertainment industry over opportunities for black artists.
Fiennes, who is white, will play the African-American “King of Pop,” who had a medical condition that lightened the color of his skin. The TV show recounts a rumored to be real-life story about a road trip the singer supposedly took in 2001 with movie stars Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando.
Sky Arts said in a statement that “Sky Arts gives producers the creative freedom to cast roles as they wish, within the diversity framework which we have set.”
News of the casting decision came two weeks after the omission of any actors of color from the 2016 Oscar nominations. That that led Will Smith and Spike Lee, among others, to shun the Oscar ceremony in February and Oscar organizers to make the decision to bring more women and people of color into their ranks.