Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson is Barely The Weirdest Thing About Urban Myths

We have… questions.

If your body hasn’t given out after stressing over politics or Golden Globes fallout this week, it’s possible this will push you over the edge. At least, that’s the read I have based on what’s happening in my Twitter feed. We all know how reliable that can be. For some, the sky is falling over the image above, from Sky Arts upcoming TV miniseries Urban Myths. Joseph Fiennes playing Michael Jackson as he was on 9/11/2001 in the story of a road trip that Jackson allegedly took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando following the terrorist attacks in New York.

Sure, Michael Jackson was very light-skinned at the time due to a skin condition known as vitiligo. But really? Joseph Fiennes? It’s been a confusing (and to many, very offensive) casting choice since the project was announced. It’s made no better by the slap-sticky tone set by this first trailer:

If you’re not into Fiennes as Jackson, that’s understandable. Beyond that, Urban Myths is a curious project that has our attention. It’s as if Sky Arts took the Black Mirror formula and applied it to the world of celebrity gossip. From their official description: “Our Urban Myths are stories that have been passed down over time and have now become part of urban folklore. But are they true? We take a slightly tongue in cheek, mischievous – and deliberately ambiguous – look at what might have happened…”

Other stories in the series include a story about Hitler (played by Game of Thrones alum Iwan Rheon) and his friend (played by Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint). The casting of Rheon as Hitler, following his turn as Ramsay Bolton on Thrones, is a little on the nose. But he’s a very good actor, so it’s likely to be okay.

There’s plenty of talent on display in Urban Myths, but tonally it’s all over the place. That said, it has our attention for more than just the nightmare of seeing Joseph Fiennes play Michael Jackson.

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