Joseph Fiennes cast as Michael Jackson in new comedy

File this under surprising casting news: British actor Joseph Fiennes has been tapped to play Michael Jackson in a new comedy that reimagines a road trip that the pop singer reportedly took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando following the tragic events of 9/11. According to an unconfirmed report that ran in Vanity Fair, the power trio were said to have been unable to catch a flight out of New York so they decided to drive to Los Angeles instead. Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon is set to première later this year.

Joseph will play the King of Pop in the upcoming television special Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon. Photo: Getty Images

Speaking with WENN, the Shakespeare in Love star, who is the younger brother of actor Ralph Fiennes, admitted that it is a “challenge” stepping into the shoes of the musical legend, but at the same time, “It’s a comedy. It’s a fun, lighthearted tongue-in-cheek road trip of what celebrity of that kind is like,” he revealed. “But also it’s rather beautiful and poignant about their relationships as well.”

Stockard Channing stars as the Cleopatra actress while Scottish actor Brian Cox portrays the legendary Godfather star.

The casting news comes during a controversial time in Hollywood, as there is much discussion about race after the Oscars failed to recognize any non-white actors for the second consecutive year. Will Smith, George Clooney, Lupita Nyong’o, Matt Damon and Spike Lee are just a few of the stars who have voiced their frustration and concern on the lack of diversity both onscreen and during awards season.

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