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The one-off drama, commissioned by Sky Arts, will focus on a story, rumoured to be an urban legend, about Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando driving from New York to California together to escape the terrorist attacks of September 11.
The story goes that Michael invited Elizabeth and Marlon to his concert in New York, and then decided to flee the city, hiring a car and stopping off at several fast food joints on the way.
One user reasoned: ‘Joseph Fiennes can play Michael Jackson (a real person). But Idris [Elba] can’t play James Bond (a fake spy for a fake agency)? Cool, cool, cool.’
Others said the strange casting choice was typical of whitewashing in the film industry, while others joked about the issue, saying ‘Joseph Fiennes is going to play Michael Jackson in a movie. His brother, Ralph Fiennes, played (the nose-less) Lord Voldemort. Coincidence?’
Joseph has spoken out about the film – which will apparently be called Elizabeth, Michael And Marlon – confirming it’s really happening and saying: ‘It’s a challenge. It’s a comedy. It doesn’t poke mean fun but it’s a story, possibly urban legend, whereby Michael, Marlon Brando, and Liz Taylor were all together the day before 9/11 doing a concert.
‘Airspace was shut down and they couldn’t get out and Michael had the bright idea to go to hire a car and drive.
‘So the three of them got in a car and drove to Los Angeles. It took them a while because they had to stop at a lot of Burger Kings for Marlon; but they got out.
‘It’s a lovely thing about Michael’s relationship with Liz Taylor and Marlon Brando. It’s a fun, light-hearted tongue-in-cheek road trip of what celebrity of that kind is like. But also it’s rather beautiful and poignant about their relationships as well.’
Also in the cast will be Stockard Channing (yes, Betty Rizzo from Grease) as Taylor and Scottish actor Brian Cox as Brando.
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