Joseph Fiennes is set to play Michael Jackson in what is said to be a one-off drama for Sky Arts (the UK pay-TV network) that will tell a reportedly imagined story of an outlandish road-trip the singer took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando. The short version of this fictional story goes something like this… Jackson invited Taylor and Brando to attend his concert at Madison Square Garden in September 2011, but after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, the trio hired a rental car and drove across the country in an effort to get back to Los Angeles. They made it to Ohio, reportedly stopping off at a number of KFCs and Burger Kings for food, before flying back to California.
Joining Fiennes in the drama will be Brian Cox as Brando and Stockard Channing as Taylor.
It will be a 30-minute dramatization titled "Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon," produced for Sky Arts’ "Playhouse Presents" series. The drama was commissioned by Sky Arts’ Phil Edgar Jones and will be directed by Ben Palmer from a script penned by Neil Forsyth.
Speaking to WENN, Fiennes confirmed he’s attached to play Jackson, saying that he’s obviously an unlikely choice for the part. “I got the script the other day,” he explained, adding: “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 500 miles 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.”
Needless to say, this will likely be controversial, especially in light of #OscarsSoWhite, even though this is a British production. I wonder what British artists like Steve McQueen (the filmmaker) would have to say about this…
Bring on the Twitter hashtags!