By Christine Anne Piesyk
A white man chosen to play Michael Jackson? For a moment I thought I’d slept through until April 1 (April Fool’s Day).
Yes, Joseph Fiennes has been chosen for the role in a made-for-TV drama. Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon, about a post 9-11 road trip that will run on British channel Sky Arts.
Now Fiennes is a great actor, but really — are you telling me they can’t find a black actor or a newcomer whose ticket to success would be a role like this?
I can think back over time of some phenomenal roles for blacks — the TV miniseries “Roots,” “The Color Purple,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “The Butler” — and a number of other films in all genres — “Men in Black,” “Independence Day,””Beverly Hills Cop” — that have helped make careers. Still, major roles for blacks are scant.
Michael Jackson is legendary, a groundbreaking performer who spiraled to a sudden death at age 50. Regardless of the upheavals of his life — including charges of child molestation — his music and theatricality proved him to be an amazing showman.
Respect the man and the legend and find a black actor who can bring that legend to life. He deserves no less.