Joseph Fiennes

The controversy behind the decision to cast Caucasian actor Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson continues on.

Joseph, who was originally selected to play the role earlier this year, decided to speak up regarding Sky Arts production choice to cast him in the upcoming 9/11 comedy Elizabeth, Michael, and Marlon. 

According to the British actor, his being casted for the role only sparked outrage due to the relevance of the #OscarsSoWhite movement. He said, “It’s an important conversation I want to go into in depth because it demands that — that I shot this last autumn, and the Internet had the information at the end of last year, for a long time. It was only in doing a little publicity that it got caught up in the whole Oscar conversation.

However, the star also went on to add how he appreciates the harsh criticism from fans. “I think outrage is good, as long as it doesn’t get into a violent shouting match,” he added. “These conversations are really important and they shape our industry. It’s vital to have them. I kind of welcome it. You can’t do this and not welcome it.

The film, which is set during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is comedic adaptation of the urban legend that Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor fled the city together in a rental car immediately following the attacks.

To which Joseph adds an interesting point, “It’s not a biopic, and it’s not Michael in his younger days. 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. So it’s Michael as we last remembered him and how he looks. 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.

The release date for the film has not been set, but do you agree with Joseph’s statements?

SOURCE: The Wrap | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty