Panel - Michael Jackson Casting Controversy

January 28, 2016 - Militant Cops & Michael Jackson Portrayal 01/28/2016 Views: 1,260

Chris Distefano, Grace Parra and Robin Thede discuss the problematic decision to cast Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson and examine the pros and cons of color-blind casting. (7:55)

Welcome back.I'm here with my panel.

First up, Nightly Show contributor Grace Parra.

-Hi.-(applause and cheering)

And Nightly Show contributorRobin Thede.

(applause and cheering)

And very funny comedianChris Distefano.

-PARRA: Yay! we got to do it.-You got it.

-You got it.-Just made it.

-Just made it. -No, I almostsaid, "Chris Grizstefano." Yeah.

That's it. I'm a little grizzlyright now with the facial hair.

-Yeah. Looking good, man.-Thank you.

WILMORE: For everyone at home,join our conversation right now

on Twitter @NightlyShow,using the hashtag Tonightly.

Okay, so, in the wakeof the Oscars...

-Oscars so white, right?-PARRA: Mm-hmm.

-THEDE: Yup, #OscarsSoWhite.-#OscarsSoWhite.

I can't believe it was announced

that Joseph Fiennes was gonnaplay Michael Jackson.

-THEDE: Ugh! -PARRA:They're mean. -In this, uh...

And here is the movie.It's this road trip--

apparently this is true--that Michael Jackson,

Marlon Brandoand Elizabeth Taylor

took a road tripthe day after 9/11.

-THEDE: Yeah.-DISTEFANO: Mm-hmm.

WILMORE:Somehow they got stuck to it.

That is unbelievable.

And, apparently,I think Vanity Fair said

that, uh, they got...they were getting upset

because Marlon Brando keptstopping, like, at Burger King.

-(laughter)-Classic Brando. Classic Brando.

Classic. Have it your way.

Could you imagine working ata Wendy's, and somebody said,

(imitating Brando): "Hey, uh, weordered four chocolate shakes."

-(laughter)-DISTEFANO: You guys had...

"There's only, uh... there'sonly three people in there."


(Wilmore coughs)

(as Brando):"I got the chocolate shakes.

What do you guys want?"

-Oh.-I can't believe that

any of them had a license.Like who...?

-Who...? -It must have beenexpired. -WILMORE: Yeah.

-Yeah. -None of them have beendriving for years.

DISTEFANO:Or, like, did they have money?

-None of them have, like, actualmoney. -WILMORE: I know.

"Like, do we pay with this dust?We don't know?

-WILMORE: Yeah. Yeah.-PARRA: Sure. -I have a potion.

Do you remember when Oprahand Gayle took their road trip,

and Oprah didn't knowhow to pump gas?

-(laughter) -I mean, like,this was just like that.

-WILMORE: A bit rough.-PARRA: Just like that.

-At least in my mind. I don'tknow. -DISTEFANO: It was so.

-Anyway, I'm sureyou had a question. -Well, nah.

But now you have Joseph Fiennesplaying Michael Jackson.

People are angry.Why are they so angry?

-PARRA: People are angry.-THEDE: Oh, they're so mad.

-Why are they mad? -They'reso mad. Because it's like

black peoplecan't play white roles,

and now black peoplecan't play black roles?

-PARRA: Yeah, yeah.-Like, what are you doing?!

PARRA: I think it's ironicthat we're so angry,

-because we hated MichaelJackson, by the way. -Oh, no.

-WILMORE: Who hated MichaelJackson? -(indistinct chatter)

When he was alive,people hated Michael Jackson.

-THEDE: I did not hate... No, Ididn't. I didn't. -WILMORE: No!

Late night was all about jokesabout how he was a pedophile.

-THEDE: No. I... -We hated him,and now that he's dead,

suddenly we careabout who's playing him.

-I don't know. -No.People love Michael Jackson.

-We liked his music, we hatedthe personality. -MAN: Yes.

-Nope. We hated the pedophilia.-One person was, like, yes.

-I... I like...-We like... That's it.

We like the music,we hated the pedophilia. Yes.

Yeah, that's all.It's very different.

Yo, we have to come upwith a new term for that.

Like, uh, "horrible personshow business dilemma thing."

-THEDE: Yeah. Yeah.-PARRA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

-Or that type of thing. Goahead. -DISTEFANO: Barber shop.

-I was trying to... HSBD.-WILMORE: Yeah, there you go.

-THEDE: Yup. -"Horribleshow business dilemma."

-THEDE: HSBD.-WILMORE: Possible, yeah.

HSBD-- it's a condition. Uh...

WILMORE: Yeah, it was very murkyabout that. Yeah, go ahead.

-THEDE: Yup.-No, no. I mean, I just think...

-Look, as a white guy...-Mm-hmm.

Um, I mean, yeah, I get it.

There's a lot of, you know,stuff going on

with the Oscars right now, andthat was a bad call, I guess.

But, you know, I mean, look,if it's... if it's about...

-If it's about... Look, I guess.-PARRA: He's so earnest.

-I was like, "You know what?"-It was a bad call, I guess.

If I was a casting director,I'd be like, "Look, Joey,

"you're good,but we can't do this, right now.

-Not now." -WILMORE:They're like, "When things..."

-When things have died down...-Died down a little bit.

Things simmer down, Joe,you're in.

But still, I feel like,you know, we were talking about

before, he's... this is laterin life Michael Jackson.

-Right. -Sure. -So you cast, youknow, like, an ol... like,

Martha Stewart would have beengood. Like, an older white woman

who's... You know what I mean?

-Yeah, yeah. -You could justput a little hair on.

-But guys... -Whoeverplays Michael's got to get

-in full makeup, so...-No, that is not true. Not true.

-You guys are missingthe obvious choice. -Okay, who?

La Toya is sitting here,ready to play these roles.

-Brilliant, brilliant.-(applause)

La Toya Jackson needs no...Thank you. -That's true.

-My... -She needs no hairand makeup, she is ready to go.

My favorite part of this, by theway, is that Joseph Fiennes

said that he was shockedthat he was cast.

It's like, bitch,you auditioned for that part.

Don't be shock... there'snothing shocking about that.

-You knew what you were doing.-All right, how much of this

should we blameon Michael's nose, though?

-I mean, 'cause it's so hard...-Unfair, his nose is not here

-to defend itself.-Yeah.

Well, that'sthe confusing part, right?

So if he still had his originalnose, even if he was light...

-Right, right.-...a black person could've...

-Has to play him. -Right. 'CauseFlex Alexander did it, you know,

he put on the lighter makeup.But, I mean, at that point,

the... with the stateof his nose at that point,

it was like only Voldemortcould have played him.

-Uh-huh, uh-huh. That's fair.-Yeah. -Who...

who was played by Ralph Fiennes,Joseph Fiennes' brother.

-It's all full circle.-It's all coming together.

-Six degrees of Fiennes.-It's a crazy connection.

So one of the Fiennes brotherswas destined

-to play Michael Jackson.-Somebody.

-It was written in the stars.-Yeah.

Were you gonna say something?

About-aboutMichael Jackson's nose?

-Oh, I don't know.-No, I don't-I don't know.

All right, let me ask you this,though, because here's the...

I don't know where his nose is.It's probably...

it's probably still inthe rental car going to Ohio.

-Yeah. -But color-blind castinghas been a big issue lately.

Especially with Hamilton. Hamilton, big hit on Broadway,

you have, like, uh, black peopleplaying Thomas Jefferson,

one of the Founding Fathers.It's a huge hit.

-Nobody seems to havea problem with that. -Right.

Well, that's 'causewe have distance from it.

We're not emotionallyconnected to Jefferson.

Like, with-with...Well, you might be

emotionally connectedto Jefferson.

I'm not connected, no, butI'm just saying, I mean, do you

want to see somebody that lookslike Ben Franklin really dancing

around up there? He's-he'sdisgusting, take out your

$100 bill-- just a fat,bloated, balding white guy.

Just out theretrying to do a number.

I want to see Ramón fromthe Bronx. That's what I want.

-Yeah. -Yeah. -I'm saying...-That must be kind of...

-that must be kind of fun.-I like it.

-I don't think you want to seethese disgusting... -Right.

-I ain't mad at a fat BenFranklin. -You ain't mad at him?

-All right.-I think the difference is, too,

these people aren'tin whiteface or blackface,

-they're just the characters.-Right.

-If-if... You know... -Would yoube mad, like, if Samuel Jackson

got in full whiteface andplayed, like, J. Edgar Hoover?

Well, I... I wouldlike it if he...

-What's wrong with that,by the way? -Nothing. -Well...

I feel like Jamie Foxx is moreof a J. Edgar Hoover type.

And they said,"Hey, Samuel Jackson

was the best actorwe could find, sorry."

Why can't we just cast it so hedoesn't have to be in makeup?

Why can't he just play the role?Like, it's TV, it's fake.

-Like, who cares?-Right. -No, but...

but it looks goodwhen they kind of look like 'em.

I know. I think-I think it'sabout emotional connection.

Like, right now we'reemotionally connected.

-What do you mean by that?-Okay, I mean like this.

Like, we are emotionallyconnected to Aaliyah right now.

I am, at least,because she's, you know,

-a recent-recent singer.-Uh-huh.

If you were to do a movieabout her right now,

she has to be playedby a black woman.

-But I think, in 250 years...-They did a movie about her

-and that caused a big brouhaha.-Yeah.

They didn't even wantZendaya, who... Zendaya,

-who is black, to play her.-But I think... I think

in 250 years you could have,like, an Asian rapper

play Aaliyah. But yougot to give it some time.

-250 years is the statuteof limitations. -That long?

-So confused. -That's a longtime. -Well, it might take

a long... it takes a while.I also, by the way,

am very emotionallyconnected to Shakira.

When Shakira: The Musical comes out,

that better be playedby a Latina.

'Cause I'm emotionally connectedto Shakira. -A Latina?

-You want... Yeah.-♪ Le-lo, la-le, lo-le.

-What just happened?-That's Shakira.

-Oh. -That's Shakira.-I think... I think

-there are some deeperGrace issues about that. -Yeah.

-Yeah. -Yeah, they're-they'reso... -This is what

-Michael Jacksondoes to people. -Go ahead.

-Yeah. -Yeah. -You know?He just brings it out of you.

-Just the weird, deep-seated...-Yeah. -Yeah.

Well, there's been so muchfrustration for so many years

with people of color justgetting roles in movies, period.

-Period. -You know?And getting recognized.

-Yeah. -Like, how muchdoes this feel like

a slap in the face when yousee something like this?

It does, and the timingwas not good. I don't think

that they planned the timing,but that's one of those things

where you're like, "Let's...Maybe we should shelf this

for a second." And I...The-the only saving grace,

I will say, is that I thinkit's-it's a TV comedy

and it's a British comedy,right? So Angela Bassett

had the best response-- OrlandoJones, comedian, tweeted,

you know, I'm only watching itif they get Angela, uh,

Angela Bassettto play Elizabeth, uh, Taylor.

-Taylor? -And she said,"That's fine, honey,

"I got my violet contacts and mybathed in white diamonds--

I'm ready to go." And I justthought that was genius.

And it's true. It's like, okay,if you've got Joe Fiennes

playing Michael Jackson,let Angela Bassett

get a little pieceof Elizabeth Taylor. Why not?

Well, I mean, I think we couldall... That's true.

-Why not? Why not?-Good point. -Yeah.

Um... I mean,the truth is, I mean,

that the moviedoesn't sound good at all.

-That's true.-I mean, it's just...

it's like, you could say what...all you want.

I feel like, ultimately, whenthis show comes out,

black people'll be like,"Thank God he wasn't

played by a black guy."You know? Like...

-They're gonna want to takecover for it. -You can

-take that, Fiennes.-Fair, fair, fair.

All right, we'll be right back.

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