Joseph Fiennes wants to reprise his role as the King of Pop, even if the episode has never seen the light of day.
In a new interview with The observerFiennes has expressed regret for playing Michael Jackson in a pulled episode of the Sky Arts anthology series ‘Urban Myths’ in 2017. episode trailer allegations of whitewashing sparked at the time, with backlash at white actor Fiennes playing the black singer. The episode centers on a journey after 9/11 in which Fiennes’ Jackson is joined by Brian Cox as Marlon Brando and Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor.
“I think people are absolutely right to be angry,” Fiennes told The Observer. “And it was a bad decision. Absolutely. And I’m part of it: there are producers, broadcasters, writers, directors, all involved in these decisions. But obviously if I’m being honest, I’ve become other people’s voice. I wish they were around the table too to talk about it. But you know, it came at a time where there was a movement and a shift and that was good, and it was, you know, a bad decision. A bad mistake.
The episode of the UK Anthology series was pulled amid protests from the Jackson family, with his daughter Paris Jackson tweeting at the time: “It honestly makes me want to puke.” The singer died in 2009.
Fiennes also confirmed his involvement in pulling the episode.
“And, just to say, I’ve asked the broadcaster to pull it,” Fiennes said. “And there were some pretty heavy discussions, but ultimately people made the right choice.”
The ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love’ star originally defended her casting choice in a interview with Entertainment Tonight (via Inside Edition) before the episode’s scheduled release.
She called the project “fun” and “lighthearted,” adding that Jackson “definitely had a problem — a pigmentation issue — and it’s something I believe in. It was probably closer to my color than her original color.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King is currently preparing a Michael Jackson biopic with director Antoine Fuqua – and with the imprimatur of Jackson’s legacy. Dan Reed, director of HBO’s four-part documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which sheds light on the molestation allegations against Jackson, condemned the biopic, writing in a recent op-ed, “Dodging the question of Jackson’s fondness for bed with boys, you’re sending a message to millions of child sexual abuse survivors. That message is: if a pedophile is rich and popular enough, society will forgive him.”
Jackson’s nephew Jaafar Jackson was cast to play him in the film directed by Fuqua.