Joseph Fiennes has confessed that he made “a bad mistake” when he agreed to play Michael Jackson in a TV show.
While speaking to The Observer, The Handmaid’s Tale star discussed being cast as the Thriller singer in a 2017 episode of the Urban Myths anthology series.
“I think people are absolutely right to be upset,” Fiennes said of his casting. “And it was a wrong decision. Absolutely. And I’m one part of that – there are producers, broadcasters, writers, directors, all involved in these decisions.
“But obviously if I’m upfront, I have become the voice for other people. I would love them to be around the table as well 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 call. A bad mistake.”
The episode followed Jackson as he embarked on a road trip with Marlon Brando (played by Brian Cox) and Elizabeth Taylor (Stockard Channing) after 9/11.
The episode drew backlash for its content and for casting Fiennes – a Caucasian man – in the role of the African-American King of Pop and Jackson’s daughter Paris publicly condemned the project.
Following the controversy, executives at the broadcaster Sky pulled the episode before it aired, and Fiennes revealed in the interview that he campaigned for that decision.
“I asked the broadcaster to pull it. And there were some pretty hefty discussions, but ultimately people made the right choice,” he added.