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Fiennes casting as Michael Jackson met with scrutiny

Michael Jackson once sang “it don’t matter if you’re black or white,” but people on the Internet are speaking out against the casting of white British actor Joseph Fiennes in the role of the King of Pop. “Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon” is a television comedy set to be released in the United Kingdom. Stockard Channing will play Elizabeth Taylor — now there’s a great casting! — and Brian Cox will play Marlon Brando. The one-off, half-hour special tells the allegedly true story of when the three mega-stars drove out of New York in a car by themselves following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The news that a white actor (known for his role as “Shakespeare in Love”) would play an African-American icon was met with much scrutiny, especially in the wake of the Academy Award diversity issues. Daily Beast contributor Stereo Williams called the casting “a symptom of Hollywood’s deep-seated race problem” and Aisha Harris of Slate says it’s “not okay.” “You don’t cast a white actor to play Michael Jackson — you get a black guy to play him, because MJ was black even when he was ‘white,’ ” Harris wrote Wednesday. Vanity Fair critic Richard Lawson tweeted: “If Joseph Fiennes is going to play Michael Jackson, it’s only fair that Gwyneth Paltrow should play Macaulay Culkin.”

Iggy Pop bringing new group to the Fox Theatre

Iggy Pop and his newly formed band — which includes Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Royal Oak’s Dean Fertita — will perform at the Fox Theatre on April 7, promoters announced Wednesday. Tickets go on sale Saturday and pre-sales kick off Thursday. Prices are TBA. The Fox concert is part of a 13-date North American tour in support of the Ann Arbor-bred rocker’s new album, “Post Pop Depression,” due out March 18. The tour launches March 28 in Seattle and wraps April 28 in Los Angeles before heading to Europe for a seven-show run in May. The outing is billed as the only time Pop and his new bandmates will perform together in a live setting. The “Post Pop Depression” project was announced last week, and the group made its live performance debut on a taping of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” In addition to Homme and Fertita, the band also includes drummer Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys), multiinstrumentalist Troy Van Leeuwen (QOTSA) and guitarist/bassist Matt Sweeney (Zwan). “Post Pop Depression” was recorded in Joshua Tree, California, and is Pop’s first solo set since 2012’s “Apres.”

Springsteen hits The Palace in April

Bruce Springsteen’s River Tour will wind through Michigan. The Boss (along with his E Street Band) will play The Palace of Auburn Hills on April 14, promoters said Wednesday. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Feb. 5. Prices have not been announced, but range from around $35 to $150 in other markets. Springsteen’s tour, which launched earlier this month in Pittsburgh, is in support of “The Ties That Bind,” his newly released deluxe repackaging of 1980 double album “The River.” He performs the 20-track album in its entirety every time, along with other hits from his venerable catalog. In characteristic Springsteen fashion, the shows have eclipsed the three-hour mark. The concert will mark Springsteen’s first Metro Detroit visit since an April 2012 Palace concert.

Kanye and Wiz go at it on Twitter

Kanye West’s “New album title, WAVES,” tweet set off a Twitter spat with rapper Wiz Khalifa. “Please don’t take the wave,” retorted Khalifa, who found West’s use of the term disrespectful to Max B., a New York rapper who started releasing “Wave” mix tapes years ago. Khalifa tried to dismiss West, saying “I been smashed the idea of that album even existing. I got joints to roll.” West responded by laying out 17 reasons why Khalifa should not have questioned him, starting with the accusation that he stole material from Kid Cudi. West, who has 17.7 million Twitter followers, said he would delete the harsh tweets because “it’s all about positive energy.” “The Devil can’t stop us,” he added.

mbeatens@detroitnews.com

agraham@detroitnews.com

Thursday’s birthdays

Alan Alda, 80

Sarah McLachlan, 48

Rick Ross, 40

Sheamus, 38

Elijah Wood, 35

J Cole, 31

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