White Actor Michael Jackson
White Actor Michael Jackson
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White Actor Cast As Michael Jackson In TV Movie Sparks Outrage

Years after his death, directors examine Michael Jackson in a different light...and a different race?  

"It don't matter if you're black or white"—what we imagine the casting call read for the part of Michael Jackson in Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon.

The made-for-TV movie tells the story of American actors Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando escaping New York City with the King of Pop in the midst of the September 11th attacks, The Guardian reports. As the Twin Towers collapsed, rumors swirled that the three celebrities embarked on a road trip from Manhattan to Los Angeles to cope with travel bans. Ten years later, sources from both Jackson's and Taylor's camps came forward to Vanity Fair with conflicting stories of what did and did not happen. Now, comedy writer Neil Forsyth is putting his own spin on the tale with director Ben Palmer in Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, debuting on Sky Arts later this year.

Grease's Rizzo, Stockard Channing, bears a close resemblance to her character, Taylor. Alongside her as Brando will be Scottish actor Brian Cox, known for his parts in Deadwood, L.I.E., and X2: X-Men United. The role of Jackson went to Joseph Fiennes, who starred as William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love and is the brother of Maid In Manhattan star Ralph Fiennes. The Brit told WENN that the script posed a "challenge" before elaborating on the half-hour plotline. Fiennes said, "It’s a lovely thing about Michael’s relationship with Liz Taylor and Marlon Brando. It’s a fun, light-hearted tongue in cheek road trip of what celebrity of that kind is like. But also it’s rather beautiful and poignant about their relationships as well."

To the dismay of many, the one black protagonist in the comedic drama will be portrayed by a Caucasian. Casting directors may have been inspired by the lightness of Jackson's skin exhibited in 2001 during the terrorist attacks. However, much of the pop singer's acclaim is attributed to his door-opening actions for African-Americans and pride in his racial identity. The casting announcement for Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon simultaneously occurred as Comedy Central's @midnight spoofed the Oscars' lack of diversity with #MakeAMovieWhiter, prompting critics to add another hashtag and Fiennes to their existing discussions on inclusivity in film and television.

Actor Orlando Jones tweeted, "I'm TOTALLY on board with Joseph Fiennes playing Michael Jackson IF AND ONLY IF Angela Bassett is cast as Elizabeth Taylor." He then said, "I await the inevitable Oscar nom for the weirdest version of blackface EVER. #OscarsSoWTF. I've made my point. Trollando out."

And others joined him:

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Cardi B Lands Leading Role In Comedy ‘Assisted Living’

Cardi B is making her way back to the big screen. The Bronx native officially landed her first leading role in the upcoming Paramount comedy, Assisted Living.

According to Variety, Cardi will play a small time crook struggling to find a hiding place after her latest heist fails. Her character, “Amber,” disguises herself as an elderly woman and hides out at her grandmother's nursing home. The film is described as a “raucous comedy” similar to Mrs. Doubtfire and Sister Act.

Paramount acquired the rights to Assisted Living in 2019. The film’s script was penned by This Is Us writer, Kay Oyegun.

Cardi, 28, made her film debut in the 2019 celeb-heavy stripper flick, Hustlers. The “WAP” rapper appears to have hinted at her Assisted Living role in a recent interview with Billboard where she dished on filming scenes for Fast & Furious 9.

“After ‘Hustlers’ I filmed a little bit for 'Fast & Furious' so I felt like ‘I’m ready for this,’ I knew what to expect,” she explained. “But the characters were a little different so I was like ‘Oh wow, I’m going to need more acting classes.’ I’m planning on doing a movie this year and I’m going to be the lead role so I’m like ‘I need to execute this flawlessly.’”

Besides film, Cardi was a judge on the Netflix completion show, Rhythm & Flow, and landed her own Facebook Watch series, Cardi Tries.

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Netflix Gives Sneak Peek Of Jay-Z Produced Western ‘The Harder They Fall’

Netflix gave a preview of the streaming giant's upcoming films on Tuesday (Jan. 12). Among them, the highly anticipated western, The Harder They Fall.

Produced by Jay Z and written and directed by musician Jeymes Samuel, the film stars Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz and Woody McClain.

The Harder They Fall follows the fictional character, Nat Love (Majors), as he seeks revenge on the man who murdered his parents. Besides signing on as a producer, Hov also created original music for the film.

The Covid-19 pandemic delayed filming, which began in March of last year in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Filming resumed in September but was paused again after one of the actors tested positive for coronavirus.

“What I love about movies is that they can make you feel every emotion,” King says in the Netflix teaser.

“And show you something you’ve never seen before,” adds Majors while clips from their film plays on the screen.

The Harder They Fall is one of 27 films headed to Netflix. See more in the video below.

2021 = a new movie EVERY WEEK on Netflix. Here's a sneak peek at 27 of the biggest, brightest, fastest, funniest, feel-good, feel-everything films and stars coming to Netflix this year pic.twitter.com/iCr1ZPrc7W

— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) January 12, 2021

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Issa Rae Announces ‘Insecure’ Will End After Season 5

Insecure will return this year for a fifth and final season, Issa Rae revealed on Wednesday (Jan. 13). In a statement to Deadline, Rae and executive producer Prentice Penny showed gratitude to HBO and fans of the show.

“Prentice and I are so grateful that HBO believed in our show from the beginning and kept the faith in us to see our vision through the end,” said Rae.“We always planned to tell this story through five seasons, but we couldn’t have made it this far without the tremendous support of our audience. I feel blessed beyond measure to bring our characters’ stories to an end, on-screen at least.”

HBO’s Programming EVP Amy Gravitt, noted that Rae has “turned insecurity into an iconic form of comedy.”

Based off the 36-year-old’s popular Awkward Black Girl YouTube series, lnsecure was created by Rae and Larry Wilmore. The series premiered on HBO in 2016.

Season five will reportedly begin filming later this month with Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Natasha Rothwell and Amanda Seales all expected to return. The previous season ended with Rae’s character at yet another crossroads with her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Lawrence (played by Ellis).

Season five of Insecure debuts later this year.

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