According to reports, actor Joseph Fiennes will play Michael Jackson in a British comedy.
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, just know his portrayal will be far less similar than any other actor who has played the pop icon before: He’s white.
The choice of casting was met with outrage and sarcasm:
â€” BET (@BET) January 27, 2016
Congratulations to noted African-American actor Joseph Fiennes on being cast as Michael Jackson…
â€” Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) January 27, 2016
The show, called Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon, is set to be a dramatization of a moment between Jackson, actress Elizabeth Taylor and actor Marlon Brando, based on a 2011 Vanity Fair report in which they allegedly went on a road trip from New York to Ohio after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Whether that actually happened is disputed, but Sky Arts; the television channel itâ€™s being produced for, called it a â€œlighthearted look at a reportedly true event.â€ It’s set to air on TV, but an exact date has not been set.
â€œIt is part of a series of comedies about unlikely stories from arts and cultural history,â€ Sky Arts said in a statement, according to The New York Times.Â Adding, that producers are given â€œthe creative freedom to cast roles as they wish.â€
Fiennes, 45, is an award-winning actor, having gotten honors from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and SAG.
He said in a recent interview that the role would be â€œa challenge.â€ â€œI got the script the other day,â€ he told WENN. â€œItâ€™s a comedy. It doesnâ€™t poke mean fun but itâ€™s a story, possibly urban legend â€¦ Itâ€™s a lovely thing about Michaelâ€™s relationship with Liz Taylor and Marlon Brando. Itâ€™s a fun, light-hearted tongue-in-cheek road trip of what celebrity of that kind is like. But also, itâ€™s rather beautiful and poignant about their relationships as well.â€