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Joseph Fiennes knows that there is some pushback to the news that he has been cast to play Michael Jackson, and he was just as shocked at the news when he heard it.

“I’m a white, middle-class guy from London,” Fiennes told ET. “I’m as shocked as you may be.”

However, Fiennes thinks that the race issue can be overlooked in this particular instance.

“[Jackson] definitely had an issue  a pigmentation issue  and that’s something I do believe,” the Shakespeare in Love star explained. “He was probably closer to my color than his original color.”

Fiennes went on to praise the story as a “light tongue-and-cheek look” retelling of the story of Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and Jackson taking a road trip together in the post-911 world.

“It’s kind of off the wall, but the writing is a delight, and the kind of interaction between the three of them is funny, and also full of pathos,” he said. “It’s people who are so iconic, but also can be detached. You know, you can get detached from society. So it’s examining that kind of wonderful and mad detachment.”

“It’s a light comedy look. It’s not in any way malicious. It’s actually endearing.”

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