Wendy Williams Talks Joseph Fiennes Being Cast as Michael Jackson: 'That's Like Angela Bassett Playing Sophia Loren'
Williams and her guests panelists gave their opinions on Fiennes being cast as Jackson in an upcoming half hour comedy special
During her “Hot Talk” segment on Friday’s Wendy Williams Show, she addressed the controversy with a panel of three others – comedienne Ali Wentworth, reporter Sharon Carpenter and CNN’s Don Lemon – and in true Wendy fashion, she did not hold back.
“That’s like getting Angela Bassett to play Sophia Loren,” the talk show host said. “You just don’t do that! With the roles so few and far between for a lot of black actors, I feel like even if they couldn’t get a name they could’ve got somebody that we don’t know.”
News broke Tuesday that Fiennes would be portraying the King of Pop in an upcoming, half-hour, comedy special based on an alleged road trip Jackson took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando following 9/11.
Although the British actor has faced backlash about the role and also admitted to being shocked that he got the part, he’s defended the casting decision, saying that he actually resembles Jackson in his adult life more than others.
“[Jackson] definitely had an issue – a pigmentation issue – and that’s something I do believe,” Fiennes, 45, said. “He was probably closer to my color than his original color.”
While most of the panelists agreed with Williams’ point of view, CNN host, Lemon said that he thought the timing of the announcement was worse than the actual news.
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“I don’t have a problem with it personally, but considering the time that we’re in – with the Oscars, with the lack of diversity in Hollywood,” he said. “Because if you’re an artist, black actors should be able to play white parts, white actors [should be able to play black parts], in theory. But this is different.”
Controversy surrounding the Academy Awards has been a hot button topic since Jada Pinkett Smith called for a boycott, earlier this month, after nominations were announced.