Speaking to the Guardian in a recent interview, Joseph Fiennes revealed he, too, feels his decision to play Michael Jackson in the UK TV Show ‘Urban Myths’ was a mistake.
Recalling the negative reaction he received, Fiennes said:
“I think people are absolutely right to be upset. And it was a wrong decision. Absolutely.”
As the actor said, he himself asked the broadcaster to pull that episode after realizing that was ‘a bad call’:
“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 call. A bad mistake. And, just to say, I asked the broadcaster to pull it. And there were some pretty hefty discussions, but ultimately people made the right choice.”
That 2017 episode of ‘Urban Myths’ centered around the myth that Michael Jackson, Marlon Brando, and Elizabeth Taylor drove out of New York after the 9/11 attacks.
In the trailer for the episode, Fiennes was seen wearing a prosthetic nose and having lightened his skin. Following the trailer’s release, critics dubbed the episode as ‘weird’ and noted that it was uncomfortable seeing Fiennes playing a black singer.
Jackson’s daughter Paris also took to her Twitter to express how uncomfortable she felt after watching it:
“I’m so incredibly offended by it, as I’m sure plenty of people are as well, and it honestly makes me want to vomit.”
In 2016, Fiennes told Entertainment Tonight that he was also surprised to be cast for the role:
“I’m a white, middle-class guy from London. I’m as shocked as you may be.”
Considering the criticism he might get for the role, he added:
“[Jackson] definitely had an issue – a pigmentation issue – and that’s something I do believe. He was probably closer to my color than his original color. It’s a light comedy look. It’s not in any way malicious. It’s actually endearing.”
You can watch the trailer below.