Not having it. Paris Jackson objected to Joseph Fiennes’ portrayal of her late father, pop superstar Michael Jackson, in a trailer for Urban Myths released on Tuesday, January 10. Watch the trailer above!
In the 50-second trailer, Fiennes, a white, British actor, dons what looks like face paint and a prosthetic nose to transform into the late “Thriller” hitmaker in the final decade of his life; Michael’s daughter, Paris, swiftly took to Twitter to take the team behind the film to task.
“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,” she wrote in the first in a series of tweets on Wednesday, January 11. “It angers me to see how obviously intentional it was for them to be this insulting, not just towards my father, but my godmother liz as well.”
Urban Myths is a made-for-TV project featuring several shorts that tell the tales of some of Hollywood’s best-known urban legends. The short featuring Michael and his close friend Elizabeth Taylor (played by Emmy- and Tony-winning actress Stockard Channing) refers to the since-debunked urban legend that the longtime friends and Marlon Brando (Brian Cox) hopped into a car for a cross-country road trip out of New York City after 9/11.
“Where is the respect? They worked through blood sweat and tears for ages to create such profound and remarkable legacies,” 18-year-old Paris continued. “Shameful portrayal. … He made a point of it plenty of times to express his pride in his roots. He would never have wanted this,” she said in a clear nod to the director’s decision to cast a white actor to play the King of Pop.
Michael’s nephew Taj “TJ” Jackson similarly voiced his disgust at the casting of the role, tweeting, “Unfortunately this is what my family has to deal with. No words could express the blatant disrespect.”
Back in the beginning of 2016, when casting for Urban Myths was announced, ardent Michael Jackson fans petitioned for others to boycott the film. “It’s easy to see why the story would make a compelling film — but it’s harder to understand why the actor best known for his role in Shakespeare in Love was the first choice to play one of the world’s most iconic black musicians,” the petition reads.
Fiennes, for his part, has expressed his own discomfort with being cast in the role, telling The Hollywood Reporter last February that he could understand why people were “up in arms.”
“The decision with the casting and the producers — I wrangled with it, I was confused and shocked at what might come my way,” the 46-year-old actor said at the time, “and I knew the sensitivity, especially to Michael’s fans and to Michael’s family. It doesn’t negate who he was.”
Urban Myths also features actors portraying such iconic and controversial characters as Bob Dylan (Eddie Marsan), Cary Grant (Ben Chaplin), Adolf Hitler (Iwan Rheon) and Hitler’s friend (Rupert Grint).
Urban Myths is set to debut on Thursday, January 19, on Sky Arts.
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