Hey 3.5 readers.
As an aspiring comedy writer, I have to say that on the surface, a plot in which Liz Taylor, Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando driving in a car together from New York to California after planes were shut down in the aftermath of 9/11 sounds like gold.
I’m not talking about the 9/11 part, obviously. But Elizabeth Taylor and all her husbands, Marlon Brando eating himself silly and talking gibberish in a depressed tone and Michael Jackson? Well, I suppose we don’t need to rehash his problems.
Urban Myths is a British TV show that portrays myths circulating about famous people and the casting of Fiennes, a white man, as Jackson has been talked about for a long time.
When I first heard about the casting last year, my immediate reaction was, well, normally you should not have a white man play a black man but Michael was that rare case where his skin color turned white. Thus, even though Michael was a black man it just wouldn’t make sense to have, say, Ving Rhames or Samuel L. Jackson play him.
But then I saw the result in this Inside Edition clip and, yeah, I am now going to backpedal and say the decision was terrible:
Michael Jackson, as a character on film, is a very difficult character to portray. The man had so many plastic surgeries that by the end of his life he looked like some kind of humanoid space goblin. Thus, it’s hard to make an actor look like Michael without adding some wacky prosthetics that, let’s face it, are just going to offend everyone.
They just didn’t do a good job here. The way Fiennes is made up, he looks nothing like Jackson. He just looks like a white guy with a messed up face. Cue, “Mike also looked like a white guy with a messed up face” joke here, but whereas Michael looked like a space goblin, Fiennes just looks like a white guy who went a few rounds in a boxing match and lost.
If I were making a Michael Jackson movie like this, the best option I think would probably be to cast a white guy, put a Jackson wig on him or that hat he always wore, and then put those big sunglasses he used to wear and the black bandana thing he wore over his face. He was a germophobe so it would make sense. You might cast a light skinned black man but I mean, it’d have to be a really light skinned black man.
Other than that, there’s just no real way to cast Jackson and/or make an actor look like Jackson without offending everyone.
Curious about the whole shebang, I searched for MJ impersonators on YouTube and found a whole variety of dudes of varying ethnic backgrounds who managed to pull it off far better than this show did…so it can be done.
It’s too bad. Liz, Mike and Marlon in a car together sounds like a hysterical idea, but without handling it properly, the whole thing tanks.
What say you, 3.5 readers?