News broke earlier this week that an onscreen portrayal of icon Michael Jackson was coming to the little screen. But the actor who’ll play the revered artist isn’t exactly who spectators had in mind.
U.K. native, Joseph Fiennes, who’s a white actor, signed on to portray the “Billie Jean” singer in Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon, a production that’s being billed as a comedy, Entertainment Weekly reports.
The announcement struck a negative chord with those who learned of the news, and now thanks to a few people on the Internet who’ve unearthed a vintage video, MJ also echoes those same feelings. In a 1993 sit down with Oprah Winfrey, Jackson said that it’s mind-boggling to think of a white actor playing him on screen, but this statement was in response to a white person playing him as a child.
“That’s the most ridiculous, horrifying story I’ve ever heard… Number one, it’s my face as a child in the commercial. Me when I was little. Why would I want a white child to play me? I’m a black American,” he said. “I’m a black American. I’m proud to be a black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. That’s like you [Oprah] wanting an oriental [sic] person to play you as a child. Does that make sense?”
Fiennes recently spoke on the synopsis of the movie, telling ET Canada, “It’s a tongue-in-cheek, fun, light look at three wonderful characters that we know — Michael Jackson, Liz Taylor, and Marlon Brando — and they go on a road trip together. Some say it’s an urban legend, and our story basically says, ‘If it happened, maybe it happened like this.’ They’re stuck in a car for 500 miles as they drive to Pennsylvania, and we get to hear some of the shtick that goes on.”
The portion where MJ speaks on the similar matter arrives at the 23:48 mark.