File this story in the “I can’t believe this really happened” category. It all started last year when the white, British, Joseph Fiennes was cast to play Michael Jackson in a British comedy called Urban Myths. It was a strange and peculiar choice, leaving folks scratching their heads wondering how a white actor in blackface could get past the laws of common decency.
The production company Sky Arts has since pulled the episode thanks to a vigorous Twitter effort from his daughter, Paris Jackson, and a petition signed by more than 20,000 fans.
The country uttered a collective sigh of relief.
However, according to Vulture, we will get a more tasteful telling of the King of Pop’s life thanks to a Lifetime project, tentatively titled Searching For Neverland.
The Lifetime project will tell the story of MJ’s last years, through the point of view of his trusted bodyguards. Reportedly, Lifetime plans on using Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days by Whitfield and fellow bodyguard Javon Beard as a source.
The Hollywood Reporter reports the new film will be a collaboration between the network and James Franco. The film will star one of Britain’s best known Michael Jackson impersonators, Navi, pictured below.
We have to admit the resemblance of Navi to Michael Jackson is pretty striking:
To ensure this attempt comes a little closer, Lifetime, an A+E Network-owned channel, has enlisted “exec producer Suzanne de Passe (The Jacksons: An American Dream), who worked with Jackson and the Jackson 5 early in her career as a creative assistant to Motown head Berry Gordy,” The Hollywood Reporter claims.
Although it’s early, this one seems like a legit effort, and anything would be better than blackface. We hope Lifetime will collaborate with Jackson’s family to get the story right.