A number of Balloon Juice regulars have drawn attention to the headline: “Joseph Fiennes to Play Michael Jackson in 9/11 Drama”. Not to defend Hollywood’s abysmal record for diversity, but that seemed extremely counter-intuitive, in this day of #OscarsSoWhite. So I checked a source article, in this case The Wrap…
Joseph Fiennes has been cast as Michael Jackson in a new British television movie.
Fiennes will play the late King of Pop alongside Brian Cox as Marlon Brando and Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor, according to The Guardian…
I suspect the highlighted word, British, demonstrates the validity of David Harewood’s explanation to NYMag on “Why Black British Actors Leave the U.K.”:
… Last week, actor Idris Elba spoke before Parliament about the need for more diversity on British television and said that growing up, while his community was diverse, he did not see that reflected in the shows he watched as a child.
Even now the shows still show a lack of diversity. American television, for all its faults, still has a black presence in shows and even in commercials. You’ll see black people in automobile ads, black women starring on their own television shows. We don’t see that on British television. The reason being that the decisions are being made by white, middle-class men, and their shows cater to a certain demographic. This is why you see black British actors coming to America, because they know there are more opportunities. I didn’t leave the U.K. because I wanted to be famous — I came here to find work because I was struggling to find work as a black actor. We’ve been banging around this issue for years. In the beginning we were laughed at, and now people are really paying attention.
There’s been discussion of a black British invasion where some feel that actors like David Oyelowo and Chiwetel Ejiofor are taking away opportunities from their African-American counterparts. What are your thoughts on this critique?
Hollywood has always had a fascination with casting British actors in general, like Sir Laurence Olivier, Charlie Chaplin, Charles Laughton, and now it’s back in vogue. I can certainly understand the frustration if people feel that way, but I’m also finding a lot of great opportunities here and really enjoying these roles that I couldn’t find in my own country…
More intelligent discussion at the link. I hadn’t gotten around to watching Supergirl — the pre-show promos weren’t promising — but J’onn Jonnz was one of my first childhood comic-book crushes, so I may have to check it out now.
Oregon post to follow?
Because when I think “Michael Jackson,” I think of a strong-jawed, large-green-eyed white guy dreamboat with full kissy lips and a thick neck.
What the actual f*ck?
I love that they mention Idris Elba…because if Joseph Fiennes (Ralphs much less talented brother) can play MICHAEL JACKSON, a real life black man (save the jokes about the colour change…), no one can ever again say that Elba can’t play Doctor Who or Bond, two entirely fictional characters.
I can always tell when I’m looking at a British knitting magazine, because every model in it is white. US knitting magazines always have a minimum of one spread with a model of color (usually black, but Asian-American is also common). So I guess there’s something to be said for having an ongoing civil rights movement here.
I still think Chiewitel Ejiofor would be a better Dr. Who — he has a lighter touch. YMMV, of course, and maybe Elba is a better comedian than I think. He does a pretty major voice in “Zootopia.”
Adam L Silverman
They’ve done a great job with Supergirl. I think you’ll like it. They’ve done a very good job with it so far. I’ve been quite impressed.
And the Mar’s Last Survivor was a swerve as Hank Henshaw in the comics was the Cyborg Superman.
I’ll be interesting to see if the teased Bizarro Supergirl is really Bizzarro Supergirl or, is a repurposed Divine from the Power Girl versus Max Lord arc in Justice League Lost.
The Republic, Blah Blah Blah...
I have to admit… I was scanning that blurb above fast and once I got past the shock of wrapping my head around the idea of JOSEPH FIENNES playing Michael Jackson… a true WTF moment if there ever was one… I skipped ahead a bit and first saw ‘Marlon Brando as’… and then ‘Elizabeth Taylor’…
Marlon Brando as Elizabeth Taylor… so of course, I caught myself thinking, well… that makes perfect sense… after all, if JOSEPH FIENNES can play Michael Jackson, then Marlon Brando, dead or not, would indeed make a great Liz Taylor…
‘Black face’… how does that work?
I have to be fair and say MJ was quite pale at that time. Obviously there are no light skinned black males who act. Or black women willing to do drag. Obviously. Poor producers.
I also have to say the only place where I’ve seen black people of all shades with full lips, flat noses, rich dark skin and a range of hair, is on British TV. People who are model thin or sculpted gods, they have TV and movie careers. Not saying Elba is wrong, I’m saying the English accent overcomes the bigotry.
Saw Catherine Zeta Jones was just cast to play a real life Columbian drug lord Griselda Blanco.
So we hit the trifecta.
One for the ‘words I never, ever expected to see in that order’ file:
Whatever floats yer boat.
“Once you’ve gone green, all else is less keen.”
@Trentrunner: Stop thinking of me. It makes me uncomfortable.
@ruemara: funny thing though if you listen to MJ interviews he was extremely proud of his Blackness…not withstanding his vittilago…so the idea of of a white actor playing him based on his paleness at the end is just wrong…besides in 2001 he had the complexion of someone with darker skin who has a “bleached” look, but not just some average white person paleness
So to really make an effort, they’ll have to first contour Fiennes face darker and then “lighten” it to make it appear the way it would and not just a whiter person’s face…and if that’s the case why not just higher and lighter skinned Black person or someone with vittilago and contour their look with special effects…
IDK…The whole thing is ridiculous and at this point just sideways trolling…I really thought it was a joke
I’m off to bed, but anyone have any experience writing a “federal job resume”…im gonna apply for a Lead Lab tech position at NOLA VA and a friend told me I needed to reformat my resume to a federal format?
I google it, but just wanted to know if anyone had some advice outside of google
@NotMax: I was maybe 6 or 7 years old — well past my Felix-the-Cat fangrrl phase, too young to fully appreciate ACDoyle’s Sherlock Holmes…
I saw a preview of “Zootopia” and am now very curious how it’s going to be received, especially at places like the Root. It has a very clear message that manages to be at least a little gray (honest to god, a plot point pivots on an intersectionality fail) but it’s still cute and entertaining and optimistic. I realize that it’s going in with several demerits because it’s Disney and there’s a history there, but I’m still curious how it’s going to go over.
You should see if you can ping SoonerGrunt on Twitter. He works for the VA.
Adam L Silverman
@lamh36: Yes, what do you need to know?
From my (admittedly limited) watching, British TV seems to hire more solely-African-heritage actors — children of immigrants from ex-British colonies. Black actors on American TV seem to have a lot more (shall we call it) “Jeffersonian” features, maybe just because actors who look “white” are perceived as being easier for us honkies to identify with?
I thought I’d never see a movie about Michael Jackson. I wouldn’t want to be the casting director tasked with finding an actor/singer/dancer who could convincingly pass for him. Between the vitiligo and his unhealthy obsession with cosmetic surgery, MJ resembled no one else on Earth, not even his own family.
I suppose one way to do it would be to cast a black singer/dancer (as far as I know, Joseph Fiennes is none of these things), use body make-up to lighten his skin, and CGI for the face, the way it was used to remove Ralph’s nose in the Harry Potter movies. I simply cannot see the sense in casting a white man to play MJ.
@lamh36: I am a fed employee; don’t think there is such as thing as a federal resume format. I think the right advice is to keep it formal, old-school, and somewhat brief, with no unusual typography or other embellishments. If the job is posted on USAJOBS, there should be particulars there about the paperwork needed.
Adam L Silverman
@Soylent Green: I’ve found that both OPM and CPAC, when processing, need to have everything that is required to validate the credentials for the position, spelled out in minutiae. So you need to delineate not just your current position, but that it is full time and the official number of hours worked per week and all of ones duties.
This, of course, was the advice I was given to get my resume past a CPAC for processing, so your mileage may vary.
@Amir Khalid: If Ralph Fiennes can get his nose removed, why shouldn’t his brother get the same opportunity?
So no starbursts, then?
If you’re someone like Joe Feinnes, you generally don’t have to audition for a part, indeed your agent may laugh in the face of anyone that suggests it. But they almost certainly did a camera test or something to see what it would look like…. I dunno maybe Britons think MJ “looked white” or coded white or whatever.
@srv: I really don’t understand your kink. I mean, rock on and all that. But its appeal completely escapes me.
@Adam L Silverman: Yeah, that’s right. Clear breakdown of duties, percentage of time spent performing each, hours worked, etc. HR needs this to move your application forward.
Everyone enjoying Winter Calm Esmerelda?
(Why do storms get all the hype? Tacitly unfair.)
Apparently there’s a market niche for professional MJ impersonators — and not just in the US, either. Even allowing for Sturgeon’s Law, there must be a few not-white impersonators who can also act well enough for a one-shot tv movie, one would think. (Heck, as Ruemara suggested, there’s got to be a Tilda Swinton woman of color who could do it!)
Adam L Silverman
@Soylent Green: And try to tailor it to the position as announced and the required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities.
Professional impersonators vary greatly in how well they can pass for the original — look at the Elvi in all their variety. I’ve heard tell of white Elvi, south Asian ones, Chinese and Japanese ones, I’m pretty sure there are African ones too, not many of whom impersonated The King all that well in their singing or dancing. I suspect the same is true of the MJs.
@Adam L Silverman: yes…this is basically what I’ve been reading so far.
I admit I didn’t our much thought into the resume for the Feds. In fact, I pretty much juse aplied in a “rush” and for all the positions I applied for with CDC I uploaded my usual resume and so far I’ve gotten no bites. I figured like with most non Fed jobs it’s just used at a glance since u fill out questionnaire anyway…I figured the questionnaire answers were more important
Now I’m thinking to myself…well shit…what if the resume was holding me back all along.
Anyway, I’m a Microbiologist. The position is as a Lead Microbiology Tech, basically under Supervisor.
David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch
Who’s gonna play Bubbles?
Actually,,,MJ was far more popular with white audiences than black, as was his intent, so I would think it easier, all other things being equal, for a white guy to capture the sensibility…
It would be a pretty petty, minor league production if the primary casting concern was actual physical resemblance….
There’s also EL Vez, the Mexican Elvis, though he does a lot of originals as well (I have one of his holiday albums, “Brown Christmas”).
@David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch: Peggy, she played Bonzo.
ETA: I mean if Marlon Brando can play Liz Taylor, being dead doesn’t seem to be a impediment to casting this movie.
Adam L Silverman
@Lamh36: Honestly I’m always amazed at how OPM or the CPAC works. At one level its all about who you get to score yours. And because you’ve likely got a more scholarly like CV than a resume, it may take some tweaking.
David *Rafael* Koch
@BillinGlendaleCA: John Belushi once played Liz Taylor — he had such amazing range.
@Anne Laurie: I said it, you didn’t. I’ve called “Diversity of Similarity”. Wherein the minority characters all look very similar to a white person in features, with just a few shades of olive to tan to distinguish. Still counts as diverse, supposedly.
@David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch: Well, I’m free and I could use the funding for the next slate of shorts. I don’t seem to be very good at fundraising.
David *Rafael* Koch
Sash is white, so the media may not be so quick to sweep his death under the rug.
I remember seeing on TV the film of Pearl S. Buck’s novel The Good Earth. It is set in China and the main characters are all Chinese. This Hollywood movie, critically acclaimed when it came out, cast mostly white actors in the principal roles because American movie audiences of the 1930s weren’t keen on seeing anyone but white people in movies, and is painful to look at nowadays.
@srv: learn to punctuate, because I hate to see good stupidity ruined by poor punctuation.
@Amir Khalid: Rob Lowe wasn’t available? I always thought MJ was going for the Rob Lowe face.
Do you really want to see Rob Lowe singing and dancing?
Well, singing and dancing are fairly wide areas. Rob Lowe might look good in Lederhosen, do a pretty good Schuhplattler, and have awesome Jodel abilities. The MJ type he ain’t.
Turner Classic Movies does a lot of really interesting programming where they have scholars come on to talk about various racial or other issues in film (like portrayals of gay characters), and I got to see a discussion with someone who studies Asian portrayals in Hollywood films. At one point, the studios did do screen tests to have white movie stars acting alongside Asian-American actors, but they decided that the white actors looked stupid in their yellowface makeup when they were in scenes with Asian actors … so they cut the Asian actors.
There were also very strict censorship rules about showing miscegenation in films — you could make a film about the subject, but both actors had to be played by whites. That’s why Ava Gardner played Julie in “Show Boat” and not Lena Horne, even though Horne wanted the part — Julie was married to a white man, and you COULD NOT show a black actress and white actor pretend to be married while sharing a movie screen. Those rules extended to other races as well, so you had Jennifer Jones playing a Eurasian woman in “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing” or Donna Reed playing Native Americans.
(Though you could get away with showing Latino men as romantic leads as long as they looked “European” enough, like Ricardo Montalban or Cesar Romero.)
I hate it when the trailer gives away the ending. http://time.com/4195286/paint-drying-british-film-classification/
The Feds employed an interesting tactic here. It seems that leaving the occupiers alone and allowing them to travel to the store and such allowed for an opportunity to wait until a significant number of the main players were away from the ranch to be picked up in smaller numbers under conditions the FBI got to set. It didn’t quite work out as I’m sure the goal was no gunfire at all, but beats the hell out of Waco. Sounds like there weren’t any kids in the vehicles that were stopped, which I suspect was a top priority.
For a slightly different perspective on British racism, how many blacks did British police gun down in cold blood last year?
Which society would you rather live in as a black person?
@? Martin: The kids ended up singing at the senior center where the meeting was going to be, and that group at least is away from the refuge. there were supposed to have been at least 11 kids, but I think they are all gone now.
I appreciate that the Feds and state police, and the county sheriffs chose the place, away from Burns which still has too many armed loonies walking around. That ridiculous lawmaker, the one that thinks cancer is a fungus, was saying that LaVoy Finicum was on the ground when he was shot, but other witnesses among the loonies say he charged at the Feds.
They have been given until 4am PST to get out. The roads are now blocked so no one can get in, but they can leave. Someone there claims that only 4-6 are left at the refuge and are preparing to “make a stand” but one of them has tweeted that he wants a peaceful resolution.
JJMacNab on Twitter is linked to someone at the Malheur refuge and is reporting on what she is being shown on the live cam and what they are posting. She’s worried that they are going to do something stupid,but one of them is at the gate, negotiating with the FBI about how to end this. The others are making ridiculous comments about it being time to die.
I think Fiennes should consider himself lucky that the casting director (or whatever those Brits call them) did not audition Freeman Gosden or Charles Correll for the part.
Maybe they didn’t get called because they’re American? (Well, dead, too, but that’s a relatively minor problem.)
And five years from now, some Real ‘Murican Patriots, wearing head scarves with a picture of Timmy McVeigh on them, will attempt to blow up a Federal building somewhere, one loaded with office workers and children, and people will blame ISIS for the first 72 hours.
I loved Idris in Ultraviolet, long before he came to the states (and on the DVDs he said he came to the US specifically to do an Americsn version of Ultraviolet). It is great that his career has taken off so.
@gwangung: Well, I mean…she first got famous playing a Mexican in the Mask of Zorro movies with Antonio Banderas, so she’s kind of Latina…right?
J R in WV
@Adam L Silverman:
What he said. Use the position description as your guide to the resume. Every skill needed should be mentioned on your resume, with the position where you did that, classes you took learning that, how much of your job was it. And then the next skill, treated the same way. If you find that your current job’s 50 hours a week doesn’t allow for all the required skills and knowledge, then split up the requirements and put the ones that seem less important in the previous position or job.
But hitting every base is necessary to get past the first barrier, which will be someone who knows nothing of the job category but who is a PR person used to filter out applicants the real IT people don’t want to or don’t have time to interview. This person has a list of skills, software tools, and knowledge that you must have to ber interviewed.
Be sure to use the exact wording for a skill that is in the position description, as the PR person only has a list, and if there is a more technically accurate term for “Firewall” (for example) that you are used to using, don’t because you need to use the word “Firewall” to pass the filter.
I haven’t done one for a long time, but when I was in a hiring position, we tried to limit interviewees to people who specifically mentioned at least some of our required skills in their resume. On the other hand, the lasst guy I hired was a COBOL guy, and we spent months sending him to Windows development classes, and ColdFusion classes and Oracle classes, etc.
He was really smart, but had been underutilized in his previous job, never sent to a school for classes, and actually teared up when I took him a 32 inch monitor, because no one else had yet gotten one. He needed it more than the rest of us as his vision was way impaired, so I got one for him. His last monitor was a mono Green Screen terminal. Normal good management to me, unthinkable to him.
@Anne Laurie: Race in the United Kingdom is very different from race in the US. Before the 1950s, the non-white population in the UK was a negligible percentage. There just haven’t been enough generations with mixed-race parenthood to generate the kind of lighter skinned black actors that you are talking about in significant numbers. Non-whites in the UK are at the most 4th generation immigrants, and most of them are more recent.