Joseph Fiennes has admitted his regrets in accepting the role of Michael Jackson in a 2017 shelved episode of the British biographical comedy-drama Urban Myths. In the episode, which also included Stockard Channing (as Elizabeth Taylor) and Brian Cox (as Marlon Brando) as the three took a road trip post-9/11, Fiennes played a heavily disfigured Jackson.
“I think people are absolutely right to be upset. And it was a wrong decision. Absolutely. And I’m one part of that — there are producers, broadcasters, writers, directors, all involved in these decisions,” Fiennes told The Guardian. “But obviously if I’m upfront, I have become the voice for other people. I would love them to be around the table as well to talk about it. But you know, it came at a time where there was a movement and a shift and that was good, and it was, you know, a bad call. A bad mistake.”
He continued, “And, just to say, I asked the broadcaster to pull it. And there were some pretty hefty discussions, but ultimately people made the right choice.”
Initially, Fiennes defended the role in a 2016 interview with THR.
“It’s Michael in his last days when, I have to say, he did look quite frankly rather differently than when we grew up with him in the ’80s or earlier,” Fiennes said at the time. “The decision with the casting and the producers – I wrangled with it, I was confused and shocked at what might come my way, and I knew the sensitivity, especially to Michael’s fans and to Michael’s family. It doesn’t negate who he was.”
Urban Myths has continued since its 2017 inception, and Fiennes last co-starred with Jennifer Lopez in Netflix action-drama The Mother. The late Jackson may get a more favorable portrayal by his nephew Jaafar Jackson in the upcoming Antoine Fuqua-directed biopic Michael.
Jaafar, 26, is the youngest son of Jermaine Jackson, and will star as Jackson in the film which will “will explore all aspects of Michael’s life, including his most iconic performances that led him to become the greatest entertainer of all time.”
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