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Joseph Fiennes on Michael Jackson Role: 'It's No Less Offensive Than Anything on SNL'

Joseph Fiennes was asked about portraying the late, great Michael Jackson on Sky Arts’ Urban Myths, which caused a lot of controversy, and was eventually cancelled.

“It’s good that people stand up for [what they believe], and I’m all for that. I’m all for that discussion, and it means a lot to me and my fellow actors to talk about casting, getting it right, getting it wrong, and then if there’s a mistake, to examine that mistake and talk about it. Maybe the controversy is good if it brings about discussion. But it is satire. It’s a 20-minute sketch, and it’s lighthearted,” Joseph told Vulture.

“It’s funny, because not so long ago, there was an SNL sketch where an actress played Michael Jackson and no one batted an eyelid,” Joseph continued. “It’s no less offensive than anything on SNL. That’s the level of offense.”

“If it comes anywhere near that criminal and hateful sensibility, then I’m deeply regretful and embarrassed, but there’s a part of me that would love people to see it and get into a discussion. I’d love to sit down and examine that as a subject. But that is abhorrent, and if it treads anywhere near that, then it’s good that it’s shut down…No. In life, you can’t avoid getting into hot water. It’s all lessons and learning. As an actor, you take on roles, and nobody has seen it, so nobody can even have the full comment because they haven’t witnessed it,” Joseph continued. “But it’s all about discussion, and I’m up for having a debate, talking about it, and not shying away from it. If it brings about debate and helps change things for the good, then I’m all for it.”

Elisabeth Moss, Samira Wiley, & Alexis Bledel Stun at 'The Handmaid's Tale' Premiere

Elisabeth Moss braves the wind as she attends the outdoor premiere of her upcoming show The Handmaid’s Tale on Tuesday night (April 25) at the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles.

The 34-year-old actress was joined at the premiere by her fellow co-stars Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Joseph Fiennes, Amanda Brugel, Ever Carradine, Madeline Brewer, Max Minghella, O.T. Fagbenle, and Yvonne Strahovski.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Elisabeth Moss

The first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale will premiere on Hulu tomorrow – April 26 – with more episodes streaming online each week.

Other stars spotted arriving at the premiere included Anna Camp, Martha Plimpton, Katie Aselton, and Ben Feldman.

FYI: Alexis is wearing a Cushnie et Ochs dress and Schutz shoes. Madeline is wearing a Lela Rose bustier and trousers, Ralph Lauren shoes, a Tod’s clutch, Yossi Harari earrings, and jewelry by John Hardy, Sydney Evan, and Ileana Makri.

20+ pictures inside of the stars arriving at the premiere…

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Joseph Fiennes' Michael Jackson Episode of 'Urban Myths' Has Been Canceled

The episode of the upcoming Sky Arts series Urban Myths featuring Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson has been canceled after backlash from the entertainer’s family and fans around the world.

There was controversy over the casting of a white actor as Michael a year ago when the news was announced and it all resurfaced when the trailer for the program was released this week.

Michael‘s daughter Paris Jackson said she is “incredibly offended” by the portrayal of her father.

Click inside to read the network’s statement… More Here! »

Paris Jackson 'Incredibly Offended' by Joseph Fiennes Portrayal of Michael Jackson, Says it Makes Her Want to 'Vomit'

Paris Jackson is breaking her silence on Joseph Fiennes being cast as her late father Michael Jackson in the upcoming Urban Myths film.

The 18-year-old daughter of the late pop star took to Twitter to share that she is “incredibly offended” by her father being cast by Joseph in the upcoming film.

“i’m so incredibly offended by it, as i’m sure plenty of people are as well, and it honestly makes me want to vomit,” Paris tweeted.

Joseph is portraying Michael when he apparently took a road trip with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Michael‘s nephew Taj Jackson also responded to the newly released trailer for the film tweeting, “Unfortunately this is what my family has to deal with. No words could express the blatant disrespect.”

Fans started a petition to boycott the film. Over 20,000 people have signed the petition to boycott the film for casting a “white English actor” as “the first choice to play one of the world’s most iconic black musicians.”

Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson - Get First Look & Watch the 'Urban Myths' Trailer!

Joseph Fiennes is going to be playing the role of the late singer and entertainer Michael Jackson in an upcoming segment on Sky Arts’ Urban Myths and the first look is here!

The casting of a white actor as Michael caused a lot of controversy after the news was announced last year.

Joseph is joined in the program by Stockard Channing as the late Elizabeth Taylor and Brian Cox as the late Marlon Brando. The story is about the alleged road trip that the three stars went on after 9/11.

Joseph previously defended his casting by saying that Michael “definitely had an issue, a pigmentation issue, and that’s something I do believe. He was probably closer to my color than his original color.” He told Entertainment Tonight that there’s nothing malicious about the performance.


‘Urban Myths’ new on Sky Arts
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Elisabeth Moss, Alexis Bledel, & Samira Wiley Promote 'The Handmaid's Tale' at TCA 2017

The Handmaid’s Tale cast brought the new Hulu show to TCA this weekend.

Stars Elisabeth Moss, Alexis Bledel, Samira Wiley, Madeline Brewer, Yvonne Strahovski, Max Minghella, Ann Dowd, and Joseph Fiennes talked about the series at a panel held during 2017 Winter TCA Tour at Langham Hotel on Saturday (January 7) in Pasadena, Calif.

The Handmaid’s Tale is the “story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalism in its militarized ‘return to traditional values.’”

The series debuts on April 26 on Hulu! In case you missed it, check out the latest trailer!

FYI: Samira and Alexis are both wearing Sachin & Babi.

15+ pictures inside of Elisabeth Moss, Alexis Bledel, and more of the cast at TCA…More Here! »

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Elisabeth Moss in Hulu's 'Handmaid's Tale' - Watch the Trailer!

Elisabeth Moss is starring in the upcoming Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale and the first trailer was just released!

The television series is based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood. Also starring are Alexis Bledel, Orange is the New Black actresses Samira Wiley and Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, Yvonne Strahovski, and Joseph Fiennes.

The Handmaid’s Tale is the “story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalism in its militarized ‘return to traditional values’. As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Moss) is a Handmaid in the Commander’s household, one of the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate the world. In this terrifying society, Offred must navigate between Commanders, their cruel Wives, domestic Marthas, and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – all with one goal: to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her.”

The series debuts on April 26 on Hulu!


The Handmaid’s Tale First-Look Teaser