Joseph Fiennes stirred controversy last January when it was revealed that the actor would be playing Michael Jackson for a Sky Arts television special. Now the first look at his portrayal of the pop legend is here in a new trailer for the series “Urban Myths.”
The series is about “true-ish” celebrity stories and Fiennes’ episode will follow the supposedly real-life story of how Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando took a road trip to leave New York after the 9/11 attacks. Stockard Channing plays Taylor and Brian Cox stars as Brando.
Seeing Fiennes as Jackson is unsettling; it’s been nearly eight years since Jackson died and “Myths” might the most prominent portrayal of the singer since his death.
Last year, Fiennes’ casting sparked an outcry that the white actor would be playing a black icon.
Last January, he spoke to ET about the controversy and said of the casting, “I’m a white, middle-class guy from London. I’m as shocked as you may be.”
Still, Fiennes said it was not so far off for him to play the singer.
“[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.”
“It’s a light comedy look,” he added. It’s not in any way malicious. It’s actually endearing.”
Watch the trailer (which includes clips from other episodes about famous like Bob Dylan and Adolf Hitler) below.