Joseph Fiennes defends being chosen for Michael Jackson role

NEW YORK - Joseph Fiennes is defending himself in the wake of criticism after being cast as Michael Jackson in an upcoming half-hour TV special, acknowledging the topic is "sensitive" but never intending it to be divisive.

See Full Article

The white actor will play the King of Pop in the upcoming Sky Arts comedy "Elizabeth, Michael, and Marlon," which tells the story of a road trip taken by Jackson, Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor as they flee New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"I deal in imagination, so I don't think imagination should have rules stamped on them," Fiennes told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "If it promotes stereotyping, then it's wrong. I made a distinction that the Jackson project doesn't do that."

The casting of Fiennes comes as controversy rages over the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations and in the film industry at large. The actor admitted to being initially surprised by the colorblind casting. "It was a shock. I thought someone had got it wrong."

But the "Shakespeare in Love" actor said he loves a challenge, providing it's in good taste.

"This is territory that is sensitive. One must determine if this portrayal is one that is going to be positive entertainment, and one that will not bring about division and put anyone's noses out of joint, so I went with the mind that this was a positive light-hearted comedy," Fiennes said.

"This is not a movie; it's a small television 20-minute sketch. It's a very sweet comedy that looks at Michael, Marlon and Taylor," Fiennes said. The actor admits if it were anything more, "I wouldn't be the guy for the job."

Fiennes recounted an incident of discrimination he witnessed many years ago in England when a black actress was picked to play an iconic white woman.

"Twenty years ago I worked for the National Theatre as a dresser. I saw a brilliant actress do Marilyn Monroe. Two critics refused to see it because she was black. I was working it from behind the stage and I couldn't understand it because she was Marilyn for me. It was a lack of imagination on their part," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Ford Nation blasts Filth City star

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Pat Thornton has dealt with hecklers before — but usually in person. “This weekend was full of interesting death threats on Twitter,” says the comic actor who plays fictional crack-smoking mayor Tom Hogg in Filth City, the crime comedy that closes out the Canadian Film Fest at the Scotia Saturday. Source
  • So-called 'Rob Ford movie' not a documentary

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    As I’ve been told by many a filmmaker, usually defensively, “it’s not meant to be a documentary.” That’s Filth City, the so-called “Rob Ford movie” that closes the Canadian Film Fest Saturday at the Scotiabank Theatre. A first feature by director Andy King, it’s an over-the-top grindhouse crime-comedy that, between scenes, even copies the “scratched film” gimmick of the Tarantino/Rodriguez co-feature Grindhouse. Source
  • Harrison Ford says he was distracted when he flew over plane

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Actor Harrison Ford said he was distracted and concerned about turbulence from another aircraft last month when he mistakenly landed on a taxiway at a Southern California airport after flying low over an airliner with 116 people aboard, according to an audio recording released Friday. Source
  • Shailene Woodley strikes plea deal in protest arrest case

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Actress Shailene Woodley has struck a plea deal for trespassing during a Dakota Access Pipeline protest. The Divergent star will plead guilty to one count of disorderly conduct in return for a year of unsupervised probation, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ. Source
  • Jay Z developing Trayvon Martin documentary

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rapper Jay Z is reportedly reteaming with producer Harvey Weinstein to develop a documentary and film about slain African-American Trayvon Martin. The teenager lost his life in 2012 when Neighbourhood Watch zealot George Zimmerman mistook Trayvon for a burglar and shot him during a scuffle in Florida. Source
  • Gwyneth Paltrow tackles anal sex in website guide

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Gwyneth Paltrow has tested fans with a new study on anal sex in her latest Goop website post. The actress and contributors to her online lifestyle hub have often been criticised for testing the bounds of decency and offering up bizarre beauty and wellbeing techniques, and now Paltrow has raised eyebrows again by talking about the taboo sex act in The Sex Issue of her newsletter, which was first published on Thursday. Source
  • Are ’gay moments’ in ’Beauty and the Beast’ and ’Power Rangers’ progress?

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — A hug. A wink. A dance. A non-answer. These are the so-called gay moments in a handful of recent high-profile studio movies that have sparked both rapturous celebration and startling backlash. From Sulu in “Star Trek Beyond” to LeFou in “Beauty and the Beast” and now Trini in “Power Rangers,” the latest Hollywood fascination is the subtle nod that a once straight or undefined character is now or has always been gay. Source
  • Mindy Kaling's Newark joke leads to dinner with Cory Booker

    Entertainment CTV News
    FILE - In this combination photo, Mindy Kaling, left, arrives at the 41st annual Gracie Awards Gala on May 24, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., addresses supporters during an election night victory gathering on Nov. Source
  • Netflix re-ups with Sandler, plan 4 more films together

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Netflix is doubling down on Adam Sandler. The streaming giant has extended its deal with the comedian for four more feature films. As part of a previous four-movie deal, Sandler has already produced and starred in two films for Netflix. Source
  • Are 'gay moments' in 'Beauty' and 'Power Rangers' progress?

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A hug. A wink. A dance. A non-answer. These are the so-called gay moments in a handful of recent high-profile studio movies that have sparked both rapturous celebration and startling backlash. From Sulu in "Star Trek Beyond" to LeFou in "Beauty and the Beast" and now Trini in "Power Rangers," the latest Hollywood fascination is the subtle nod that a once straight or undefined character is now or has always been gay. Source