Controversy erupted last year when it was announced that white actor Joseph Fiennes would be playing Michael Jackson in a TV production for the UK’s Sky Arts. Now, almost a full year later, we have a visual aid to accompany that outrage.
The trailer for Urban Myths hit YouTube on Tuesday, giving us our first look at Fiennes in the role of Jackson (circa 2001), opposite Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor and Brian Cox as Marlon Brando. A 2011 Vanity Fair article alleged that Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando road-tripped to Ohio shortly after the 9/11 attacks, an event now being recreated as part of Urban Myths:
The trailer also reveals several other famous faces slipping into historical roles, including Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones) as Adolf Hitler and Rupert Grint (the Harry Potter films) as “Hitler’s friend” — though something tells us Fiennes’ haunting performance as Jackson will garner the most attention.
Discussing the controversy with Entertainment Tonight in 2016, Fiennes said, “[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.” Fiennes also insisted that his portrayal is “not in any way malicious. It’s actually endearing.”
Hit PLAY on the Urban Myths trailer above, then drop a comment with your thoughts below.