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?
1. MJ was a victim of physical abuse from his father as a child. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he shed tears and claimed that he was so terrified of his father that he would often vomit when he saw him.
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2. His favorite animated character from childhood was Pinocchio.
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3. When MJ listened to the songs from his days in The Jackson 5, he said he sounded like "Minnie Mouse."
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4. His middle name was Joseph - Michael Joseph Jackson.
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5. "Billie Jean" is allegedly based on a true story. MJ claims an obsessive fan tried to say he was the father of her child.
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6. His first song to hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart was "Ben" in 1972.
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7. MJ was a huge Beatles fan. He paid $47 million for the publishing rights to the Beatles back catalogue in 1985 and sold a share of it to Sony in 1995 for $95 million.
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8. Get this… The costumes for the "Thriller" video came from the Salvation Army.
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9. Jackson invented and owns the patent for the special anti-gravity boots he wore that allowed him to lean forward extremely far in live performances of "Smooth Criminal."
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10. MJ loved animals, and had several…strange pets. He had a python called Crusher, two llamas called Louis and Lola, and his most famous pet was Bubbles, the chimpanzee.
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11. Sources say MJ "borrowed" the Moonwalk from street dancers he saw outside a hotel.
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12. The original song title for "Thriller" was "Starlight."
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13. Sources say MJ slept in an oxygen tent to live longer and for cosmetic purposes.
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14. MJ was a proud owner of a 2,700-acre Neverland Ranch that has a theme park, a menagerie, and a movie theater.
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15. "Home Alone" star Macaulay Culkin was one of MJ's closest friends, and is the godfather of two of Jackson's children.
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16. MJ's estate signed a deal with Sony that gave them access to his unreleased recordings for $250 million.
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17. MJ often wore a black armband to remind people of the suffering of children around the world.
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18. The Los Angeles mansion he was renting just before he passed away once belonged to Sean Connery.
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19. MJ was allegedly a pretty avid reader… He was once accused by a library of owing $1 million in overdue book fines.
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20. Wikipedia, Twitter, and AOL's Instant Messenger all crashed at 3:15PM on the day MJ died: June 25, 2009.
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Continue reading Joseph Fiennes Defends Playing Michael Jackson In Upcoming Film: We Need “Colorblind Casting at All Levels”
20 Things You Didn't Know About The Legendary Michael Jackson