Michael Jackson didn’t want a white actor to portray him

Published 8:02 AM EST, Fri January 29, 2016

Story highlights

Michael Jackson made the comments to Oprah Winfrey in a 1993 interview

Joseph Fiennes has said he too is surprised by his casting in British TV production

(CNN) —  

With controversy raging over Joseph Fiennes’ casting as Michael Jackson in a British TV production, a 1993 video has surfaced of the late singer saying he didn’t want a white actor to portray him on screen.

Joseph Fiennes to play Michael Jackson in British TV show

Fiennes is set to play the pop star in the half-hour comedy “Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon,” which centers around a fabled road trip in which Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando tried to get home to Los Angeles from New York after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

In a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Jackson rejected the idea of having a white actor portray him on screen. Winfrey had asked him about reports that he wanted Pepsi to cast a white actor to play him as a child in a commercial.

“That is so stupid,” Jackson said. “That’s the most ridiculous, horrifying story I’ve ever heard. It’s crazy.”

Jackson added, “Why would I want a white child to play me? I’m a black American. I’m proud to be a black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am.”

Jackson makes the comments at around the 23:59 mark in a video of the interview posted on YouTube.

Fiennes told “Entertainment Tonight” that he too was surprised by his casting.

“I’m a white, middle-class guy from London,” the actor said. “I’m as shocked as you may be.”