CNN has unearthed a 1993 Oprah Winfrey interview with Michael Jackson in which he addresses Pepsi’s then plan to cast a white actor to play him as a child in his ill-fated advertisement for the soda company. “That is so stupid,” Jackson told Winfrey. “That’s the most ridiculous, horrifying story I’ve ever heard. It’s crazy.”
He 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 addresses the question around the 24-minute mark.
Jackson’s 20+-year-old comments on the subject are somehow particularly relevant again. Earlier this month, British channel Sky Arts announced that they had cast Joseph Fiennes to play Jackson in an upcoming comedy. The show, titled “Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon,” is based on a road trip that Jackson took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after the September 11 attacks.
“I’m a white, middle-class guy from London,” Fiennes said in a recent interview during which he addressed the casting decision, “I’m as shocked as you may be.” He added that color should be a factor: “[Jackson] definitely had an issue — a pigmentation issue — and that’s something I do believe,” Fiennes said. “He was probably closer to my color than his original color.”
Video via CNN.