The first images of Joseph Fiennes playing King of Pop Michael Jackson have dropped, reigniting the controversy over the actor’s casting.
Joseph plays the late singer in Sky Arts series Urban Myths, which tells a collection of fabled tales including one about Michael taking a road trip from New York to Los Angeles with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando following the terrorist attacks in America on 9/11.
There was a backlash when it was announced last year, with critics asking why a white actor had been cast to play a black star.
The first trailer has now been released, showing Joseph as Michael.
As a result, many people have been taking to social media to express their disgust at the casting.
I'm offended for MJ #urbanmyths— Q. (@thequianafulton) January 11, 2017
However, Ben Palmer, who directed four episodes of the series, has defended the decision, saying it was based on performance and not looks.
He was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “We were casting Michael Jackson in 2001 and that obviously is a challenge in terms of the physical resemblance.
“We were really looking for the performance that could unlock the spirit, and we really think Joe Fiennes has done that. He’s given a really sweet, nuanced, characterful performance.”
Stockard Channing stars as Taylor and Brian Cox plays Brando in the TV film.