In the upcoming Sky Arts anthology series Urban Myths, Joseph Fiennes will be portraying Michael Jackson. As if that weren’t crazy enough, the episode in which Jackson appears revolves around the urban myth that after 9/11 he, long time friend Elizabeth Taylor, and Marlon Brando went on a spontaneous joy ride. Besides the outlandish nature of the performance, the casting of the episode is kind of insane as well. Stockard Channing as an older Elizabeth Taylor could be a transcendent performance, and Bryan Cox seems to be doing some interesting things with his late-stage Marlon Brando impersonation in this short clip. But then Fiennes pops up, and the result is a pretty horrifying approximation of Michael — at any stage of his career.
Twitter, naturally, had some thoughts about this particular casting and makeup choice.
This is probably not the reaction that Sky Arts’ was expecting or hoping for when they uploaded a first look at the show to the internet. But the internet can be ruthless, especially when an iconic musician like Michael is involved in the controversy. Joseph Fiennes is a genuinely talented actor, even though his career has sputtered a bit lately, so there’s a good chance that the performance will be far better than this makeup.
See the full trailer below for the series and check out all of the other “anticipated” performances, including Game of Thrones‘ Iwan Rheon as Hitler himself.