1993 interview resurfaces after Joseph Fiennes cast as King of Pop in upcoming road trip comedy
Sorry Joseph Fiennes, but Michael Jackson made his thoughts on being played by a white actor clear years ago.
On the heels of the news that Fiennes would play Jackson in a new British one-off comedy special, a 1993 interview Jackson did with Oprah Winfrey has resurfaced.
At the 3:47 mark, Winfrey asks about a rumor that Jackson wanted a white child to play a young version of him in a Pepsi commercial.
“That is so stupid,” Jackson said. “That’s the most ridiculous, horrifying story I’ve ever heard. It’s crazy. It’s my face as a child in the commercial. Me when I was little. Why would I want a white child to play me? 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 wanting an Oriental person to play you as a child. Does that make sense? Please, people, stop believing these horrifying stories.”
The film, entitled “Elizabeth, Michael, and Marlon,” will be based on a story first reported in Vanity Fair. A former employee of Jackson’s claims that the musician invited the legendary actors to see him perform in New York just before 9/11.
But after the terrorist attacks that toppled the World Trade Center towers, the three allegedly rented a car and tried to drive back to California on their own, making it as far as Ohio.
Fiennes is best known for his role in the 1998 Oscar darling “Shakespeare in Love.” He has also appeared in “American Horror Story” and the Dwayne Johnson action film “Hercules.”
“It’s fascinating and funny … Wonderfully hilarious,” Fiennes told TheWrap at a junket for his upcoming film “Risen” on Jan. 22.
While others have expressed disbelief or even anger at the prospect of a white actor portraying the King of Pop, Fiennes didn’t see anything wrong with the idea. If anything, he wishes they could have made him look even more like Jackson. However, he did admit to having some reservations when first approached about the project.
“I was like, ‘Wait a minute, I think someone’s got this wrong. I mean, really?'” Fiennes recalled with a laugh. “The budget was too low to do prosthetics or anything, so it literally is straight-forward makeup. And it’s really saying, ‘Look, audiences, it’s tongue-in-cheek.’ No one’s trying to do an exact impersonation, but it’s just a sense of the fun of the road trip. If it did happen, maybe it happened like this. That’s all it is, a lighthearted take.”