It’s highly likely that Michael Jackson is turning over in his grave after the announcement that white British Actor Joseph Fiennes would be portraying him in the upcoming UK comedy about Jackson’s life in 2001. “I’m a white, middle-class guy from London,” Fiennes told ET. “I’m as shocked as you may be.” Fiennes does believe though, that in this instance race can be overlooked.
“[Jackson] definitely had an issue — a pigmentation issue — and that’s something I do believe,” the Shakespeare in Love star explained. “He was probably closer to my color than his original color.”
During Jackson’s infamous interview with Oprah Winfrey at his Neverland Ranch in 1993, he was adamant that he never wanted to be portrayed on-screen by a white actor.
When asked by Winfrey about rumor than he wanted a white boy to play him early 90’s Pepsi commercial, Jackson fired back, ‘that is so stupid. That’s the most ridiculous, horrifying story I’ve ever heard. It’s crazy.”
He continued, expressing his desire to stay true to his identity as a black man.
“It’s my face as a child in the commercial,” Jackson said. Me when I was little. Why would I want a white child to play me? I’m a black American. I’m a black American. I’m proud to be a black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. That’s like you [Oprah] wanting an oriental person to play you as a child. Does that make sense? Please people stop believing these horrifying stories.”
And there you have it. Even if you weren’t exactly outraged by the news, or brushed it off due to the film being a comedy as opposed to a big screen biopic – you can’t help but feel badly knowing that Michael wouldn’t have approved.