Actor Joseph Fiennes says he was “shocked” to be cast as Michael Jackson in a TV show for Sky Arts.
Joseph Fiennes plays Michael Jackson in the comedy about a supposed road trip taken by the singer, Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Some fans have reacted angrily to the casting, but Joseph Fiennes said he thought Michael Jackson was “probably closer to my color than his original color”.
Sky Arts said producers had “creative freedom” in the casting.
Joseph Fiennes said he believed Michael Jackson – who died in 2009 – had a “pigmentation issue” with his skin, so the issue of race should not come into play.
However, the actor told Entertainment Tonight: “I’m a white, middle-class guy from London – I’m as shocked [about the casting] as you might be.
“It’s a light comedy look. It’s not in any way malicious. It’s actually endearing. And the more I actually looked at Michael – it’s great, as an actor, to have so much to copy and look at in interviews – the more I kind of fell in love with him.”
Describing the plot of the 30-minute program – titled Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon – Joseph Fiennes said: “Michael and two of his best buddies, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, happened to be in New York the night before 9/11.
“It was a concert Michael was giving, and Brando was introducing him on stage.
“I don’t know if this is an urban legend or if it’s true, but the three of them couldn’t get out because air space was shut down, so the three of them jumped in a car and went on a road trip.”
Stockard Channing, who is best known for her roles in TV drama The West Wing and musical Grease, is playing Elizabeth Taylor in the comedy with Brian Cox starring as Marlon Brando.
There has been a backlash on Twitter to the casting, with some using the hashtag #whitewashing and others claiming they thought the story was actually from satirical magazine The Onion.
CNN entertainment reporter Chris Witherspoon posted a 1993 Michael Jackson interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which he discussed rumors he had wanted a white child to play him in a TV commercial, telling the presenter: “Why would I want a white child to play me? I’m a black American (…) I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am.”
Angela Bassett, who played Tina Turner in biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It, joked on Twitter she had “ordered violet contacts” and was “ready” to play Elizabeth Taylor after Sleepy Hollow star Orlando Jones suggested she play the actress.
The story about the road trip first came to light in a 2011 Vanity Fair article, which quoted a former employee of Michael Jackson as saying: “They actually got as far as Ohio – all three of them, in a car they drove themselves!”
Marlon Brando was said to have annoyed his friends by wanting to stop at nearly every fast food restaurant they passed on the way.
However, one of Elizabeth Taylor’s assistants dismissed the claims, saying the actress had actually stayed in New York and visited Ground Zero in the days after the attack.
Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon will be broadcast later this year as part of a series on unlikely stories from the history of arts and culture.
Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani has said there were “pockets” of people celebrating when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001.
Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor at the time, disputed claims by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that thousands of people were involved.
Donald Trump’s comments have been refuted by local political leaders because of a lack of evidence.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie simply said “it didn’t happen”.
Rudy Giuliani, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2008 Republican nomination himself, said: “We did have some [reports of] celebrations, there were pockets of celebration, some in Queens, some in Brooklyn.”
The former mayor said in one specific report which was later proved to be true, owners of a sweet shop were celebrating and children from a nearby housing development “beat them up”.
However, Rudy Giuliani said Donald Trump was willfully exaggerating the numbers and he himself “would’ve been thrown out of the race” had he made such an inflated claim during his 2008 campaign.
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik later backed up Rudy Giuliani’s comments, saying “10-50” people were reported to be celebrating in different areas throughout the city.
Donald Trump, who comes from New York and runs his billionaire property empire from the city, has come under constant attack for days, ever since he made his controversial 9/11 remarks at a rally in Alabama.
The mayor of Jersey City, which Donald Trump named, said no such thing happened and accused the Republican of “shameful politicizing”.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, his Republican rival in the race for the White House, said it was not true.
“It didn’t happen and the fact is, people can say anything, but the facts are the facts, and that didn’t happen in New Jersey that day and hasn’t happened since.”
Donald Trump leads the Republican race to be presidential nominee, two months before voting begins in the primary contests.
The Republican presidential hopeful has also urged increased surveillance of Muslims in the US, in light of the Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people.
9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui has claimed members of the Saudi royal family helped fund the 2001 attacks.
Al-Qaeda’s Zacarias Moussaoui, who is imprisoned in Colorado for his role in the 9/11 attacks, gave testimony in October to lawyers for victims suing Saudi Arabia.
His statement came to light when it was filed in court this week in response to a Saudi bid to drop the lawsuit.
Saudi Arabia has rejected the accusation from a “deranged criminal” with no credibility.
They have made several attempts for the lawsuit to be dropped.
In a rare interview for an inmate at a high security “supermax” prison, Zacarias Moussaoui said “extremely famous” Saudi officials, including Prince Turki al-Faisal Al Saud, a former Saudi intelligence chief, were funding al-Qaeda from the late 1990s.
Zacarias Moussaoui also claimed to have met a Saudi official in Afghanistan who worked in the US embassy.
The two men were later supposed to travel to Washington to find a location “suitable to launch a stinger [missile] attack” on Air Force One, he said.
His claims, made under oath, have not been verified.
Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested weeks before the 9/11 attacks on immigrations charges and was in prison at the time of the attacks. He had taken flying lessons in Minnesota and had been wired money by an al-Qaeda affiliate.
In court at his sentencing, Zacarias Moussaoui said he had been part of a grandiose plot to fly a Boeing 747 into the White House.
However, testimony from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – also in US custody – was used by Zacarias Moussaoui’s defense lawyers to undercut his claims during trial.
Families of 9/11 victims allege that Saudi Arabia and a government-affiliated charity knowingly provided funding and other material support to al-Qaeda that helped it carry out the attacks.
Plaintiffs include families of the nearly 3,000 people killed, as well as insurers that covered losses suffered by building owners and businesses.
Four Afghan inmates have been released from the Guantanamo Bay prison and sent back to their home country, the Pentagon announces.
Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani and Mohammed Zahir were repatriated after a thorough review of their cases.
Eight Afghans are believed to be among the 132 detainees remaining at the US prison in Cuba.
President Barack Obama has pledged to close the facility, opened in 2002 to hold “enemy combatants” in what the US termed its war on terror.
“As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these men were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force,” a Pentagon statement said on December 20.
The four Afghans were flown to Afghanistan’s capital Kabul aboard a US military plane and handed over to the local authorities, a US official was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.
The Pentagon provided no further details.
The repatriation is the latest in a series of transfers from the Guantanamo Bay, as President Barack Obama seeks to eventually shut the facility.
Earlier this month, six prisoners were flown to Uruguay, which said they would enjoy complete freedom in the South American nation.
About half of the remaining detainees at the Guantanamo Bay have been cleared for transfer – but have nowhere to go because their countries of origin are unstable or unsafe.
The Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba was opened in 2002, a year after the 9/11 attacks in the US.
The 13th anniversary commemoration of the 9/11 terror attack will be marked with a solemn reading of the names and moments of silence at the precise times of tragedy.
As the nation pauses to mark the commemoration of the September 11, 2001, terror attack, little about the annual ceremony at ground zero has changed.
However, for the first time, the National September 11 Museum — which includes gut-wrenching artifacts and graphic photos of the attacks — will be open on the anniversary. Fences around the memorial plaza have come down, integrating the sacred site more fully with the streets of Manhattan while completely opening it up to the public and camera-wielding tourists.
A nearly completed One World Trade Center has risen 1,776 feet above ground zero and will be filled with office workers by this date in 2015, another sign that a page in the city’s history may be turning.
For some who lost loved ones in the attacks, the increasing feel of a return to normalcy in the area threatens to obscure the tragedy that took place there and interfere with their grief.
The 13th anniversary commemoration of the September 11 terror attack will be marked with a solemn reading of the names and moments of silence at the precise times of tragedy
As happens annually, family members of those killed in the attacks will gather Thursday morning to read the names of the deceased, pausing the sad roll call only four times: to mark the times when the first plane struck the World Trade Center, when the second plane struck, when the first tower fell and when the second tower fell.
The memorial plaza will be closed to the public for most of the day and available only to family members. It will reopen at 6 p.m., at which point thousands of New Yorkers are expected to mark the anniversary at the twin reflecting pools where the towers once stood.
In May, when the museum opened in a ceremony attended by President Barack Obama, the fences that had surrounded the plaza for years disappeared, as did the need for visitors to obtain a timed ticket. Now, thousands of people freely visit every day, from cellphone-toting travelers to workers on a lunch break, and those crowds will only swell further this year when One World Trade Center finally opens.
The first ceremony at the site was held six months after the Twin Towers fell and was organized by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his aides. Michael Bloomberg, who took office just three months after the attacks, remained in charge, acting as the master of ceremonies for the next decade.
After other elected officials attempted to gain a larger role at the solemn event, in 2012, all politicians — including Michael Bloomberg — were prohibited from speaking at the event. That remains the case now, as new mayor Bill de Blasio, who took office in January, agreed to let the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation organize the commemoration ceremony. Michael Bloomberg is the foundation’s chairman.
The 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, were released Wednesday.
Less than two weeks before the first anniversary of the tragedy, the recordings were made public after the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission approved a request from the Associated Press and the state’s attorney decided not to appeal.
The 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown were released
Prosecutors had argued that audio of seven calls placed from inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, would cause anguish for the families of the 20 children and six staffers slain.
A court agreed they would be “a searing reminder of the horror and pain of that awful day” but said would also underscore the “bravery and professionalism” of the first responders.
While many family members opposed the release of the tapes, others were in favor of public airing.
The recordings were put out days after state law-enforcement officials released a long-awaited report on the shooting and 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza.
Charles Ramsey 911 call to Cleveland police has been released.
Since Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight’s dramatic rescue Monday night, Charles Ramsey has become an internet celebrity due to his animated and zany interviews with news outlets.
His expletive-filled 911 call is garnering just as much attention.
Charles Ramsey explains to the dispatcher: “Hey bro I’m at 2207 Seymour Avenue, West 25th. Hey check this out, I just came from McDonalds right? And I’m on my porch eating my little food and this broad is trying to break outa the f***ing house next door to me.
“There was a bunch of people on the street right now and sh** and we are like, <<Whats wrong with you, whats the problem?>>
“And she’s like, <<This mother f***er has kidnapped me and my daughter>>. Said her name is Linda Berry or some shit. I don’t know who the fuck that is, I just moved over here bro.”
The dispatcher asks the man to calm down and slow down and tries to ascertain what is happening and where they are.
Charles Ramsey explains that he is looking at Amanda Berry, who is on the phone with a different dispatcher. He explains that she is white, but her child is Hispanic and that she is wearing a white tank top and blue sweat pants.
Since Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight’s dramatic rescue Monday night, Charles Ramsey has become an internet celebrity due to his animated and zany interviews with news outlets
He is then asked if Amanda Berry needs an ambulance and he can be heard shouting over to her.
“You need an ambulance or what? She needs everything, she in a panic, she’s been kidnapped you know? So put yourself in her shoes.”
ANIMATED 911 CALL FROM CLEVELAND HERO CHARLES RAMSEY
Charles Ramsey: Hey bro I’m at 2207 Seymour Avenue, West 25th. Hey check this out, I just came from McDonalds right? And I’m on my porch eating my little food and this broad is trying to break outa the f***ing house next door to me.
There was a bunch of people on the street right now and sh** and we are like, “Whats wrong with you, whats the problem?”
And she’s like, “This mother f***er has kidnapped me and my daughter”. Said her name is Linda Berry or some shit. I don’t know who the fuck that is, I just moved over here bro.
Dispatcher: Sir you have to clam down and slow down, is she still in the street?
Ramsey: Seymour Avenue.
Dispatcher: Is she still in the street or where did she go?
Ramsey: Yeah I’m looking at her, she right now. She calling you all, she on the other phone.
Dispatcher: Is she black, white or Hispanic?
Ramsey: Err she white, but the baby look Hispanic.
Dispatcher: Okay what is she wearing?
Ramsey: Err white tank top, light blue sweat pants, like a wife-beater.
Dispatcher: Do you know the address next door that she said she was in?
Ramsey: Yes 2207, I’m looking at it.
Dispatcher: Okay I thought that was your address, that house.
Ramsey: No No, I’m smarter than that bro, I’m telling you where the crime was, not my house.
Dispatcher: Sir we can’t talk at the same time, do you want to leave your name and number?
Ramsey: Charles Ramsey, R-A-M-S-E-Y
Dispatcher: Are the people she said that did this do you know if they are still in the house?
Ramsey: I don’t have a f***ing clue, bro, I just got out of McDonald’s.
Dispatcher: Can you ask her if she needs an ambulance.
Ramsey: You need an ambulance, or what? She needs everything, she’s in a panic bro, she’s been kidnapped so you know put yourself in her shoes.