Forget about Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, the title of the British TV comedy
movie project half-hour episode* that has generated controversy with the casting of Joseph Fiennes as the King of Pop. If director Phil Edgar-Jones really wants to do justice to the memory of Michael Jackson and 9/11, he should: 1) Read Stacy Brown’s piece today in the New York Post, and 2) Write an entirely new script. In this one, Brando and Taylor only have cameos.
Brown, a freelance journalist, Michael Jackson biographer and personal friend of Jermaine, confirms that the 9/11 chronology that unfolded for Jackson following a pair of concerts at Madison Square Garden Sept. 7 and 10 had little to do with those two fellow superstars. But that’s not say the story is any less fascinating.
Brown writes he helped the Jackson family entourage rent a pair of RVs and that two days after the 9/11 attacks, MJ headed to New Jersey in his tour bus with his two children and others, winding up at the Franklin Lakes home of friend Frank Cascio. After securing his personal safety and that of Prince and Paris, Jackson worried about his fans still stuck in Manhattan:
“I’ve got to make sure they’re OK,” Jackson told me by telephone that Friday [Sept. 14]. “What would they think if I’m safe and they’re left hanging out there with nowhere to go? They came from England, they came from France and they came from Japan. How are they getting along?”
Jackson wound up footing the bill for nearly three dozen fans to stay in New Jersey. He even treated them to fast food and movie outings.
“We should get that in the newspapers,” [Jackson rep Bob] Jones told Jacko.
“No,” the singer protested. “The people in those buildings [the World Trade Center], the paramedics, firefighters, the police, the mayor. They should be in the newspapers.”
Brown says Jackson eventually returned to New York and stayed in the city until December.
Editor’s note: The original version of this item included an incorrect reference to Brown’s gender (“she”). FishbowlNY apologizes for the error.
*Correction (Feb. 2):
A rep for Sky Arts has clarified that Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon will be a half-hour in length, part of a series of comedic treatments of “unlikely stories from the arts.” There is no firm broadcast date yet.
Update (Jan. 10, 2017):
Per Radio Times, the series, titled Urban Myths, is set to being airing Jan. 19 on Sky Atlantic. The episode we wrote about above will feature the late Carrie Fisher in a small role:
Fisher will star as a diner burger-flipper, with Stockard Channing taking the role of the Cleopatra actress.
The episode will also star Brian Cox as Marlon Brando, with Ben Palmer directing the script penned by Neil Forsyth. It will air in part two of the series in April this year.
Update (Jan. 13, 2017):
Based on angry reaction from fans and the Jackson family to the trailer and idea of a white actor (Fiennes) being cast as Michael, Sky Arts has decided to pull the episode.
@TheMJCast i’m so incredibly offended by it, as i’m sure plenty of people are as well, and it honestly makes me want to vomit.
— Paris-Michael K. J. (@ParisJackson) January 11, 2017