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A British TV production hired white actor Joseph Fiennes to portray Michael Jackson. The recently-released trailer, gives viewers the first glimpse of the controversial casting choice in action.
USA TODAY
Bad news, 2017: The Joseph Fiennes-as-Michael Jackson comedy has arrived, and it's not pretty.The Internet, and Jackson's family members, were aghast when the first trailer for the UK show Urban Myths dropped Tuesday night, with Fiennes' prosthetics-heavy visage barely resembling like the singer he's supposed to be playing.Featuring a host of actors playing figures from Bob Dylan to Adolf Hitler, Urban Myths takes "a slightly tongue in cheek, mischievous – and deliberately ambiguous – look at what might have happened" in famous stories of celebrity folklore.
Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson 
(Photo: Sky Arts)
In Fiennes' episode, titled "Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon," the trio of Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando flee post-9/11 New York in a rental car together, "reflecting on their lives, loves, careers and egos as they go." The 30 minute-long clip also features a cameo from the late Carrie Fisher as a "diner burger flipper," according to a release.
But Fiennes' casting, announced in the thick of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy last year, drew jeers from social media users, criticizing the series' choice of a white actor playing the African-American singer.
Abigail Tye, a spokeswoman for Urban Myths broadcaster Sky Arts, called the program a "lighthearted look at a reportedly true event," about a supposed car ride that Jackson took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando.In another segment, the program features Harry Potter's Rupert Grint playing "Hitler's friend," alongside actor Iwan Rheon's portrayal of the young Fuhrer."At least if it was Meryl Streep, we'd be like, 'Yeah I mean, but she's dope.' But Joseph Fiennes? The guy who played Shakespeare? That's like the whitest guy in history!" Trevor Noah joked about the casting decision last year.
Fiennes, who rose to fame in 1998's Shakespeare in Love, told ET he's " as shocked as you may be" that he's playing the late music icon. "I'm a white, middle-class guy from London," he said.The actor defended Urban Myths against claims that it whitewashed Jackson, who suffered from vitiligo. "[Jackson] definitely had an issue, a pigmentation issue, and that's something I do believe," he said. "He was probably closer to my color than his original color."
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