Joseph Fiennes
Actor Joseph Fiennes will be joined by Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor and Brian Cox as Marlon BrandoLarry Busacca/Getty Images

Ever since it was revealed that Joseph Fiennes will play Michael Jackson in an upcoming half-hour TV special, fans of the King of Pop seem dejected. The casting has been severely criticised, however, the British actor has spoken out about his unorthodox approach to place the pop icon.

"I'm a white, middle-class guy from London. I'm as shocked as you may be," he told Entertainment Tonight on receiving the offer. However, the 45-year-old also believes that his casting for the TV special is not entirely out of the league.

"[Jackson] definitely had an issue – a pigmentation issue – and that's something I do believe," he told the website referring to the American music legend's chronic condition known as vitiligo, which lightened the color of his skin. "He was probably closer to my color than his original color," he added.

Fiennes insisted that the project will be light-hearted and funny. "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. 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," he said.

Here are five things you may not know about the actor

1. Fiennes is the eighth cousin of the Prince of Wales and is the younger sibling of actor Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), filmmakers Sophie Fiennes and Martha Fiennes and composer Magnus Fiennes.

2. He has a twin brother named Jacob, who is a conservationist.

3. He is popular for his role as William Shakespeare in Shakespeare In Love and was nominated for the Bafta award for best actor in a leading role.

4. He played Monsignor Timothy Howard in FX's hit thriller American Horror Story: Asylum which was aired in 2012-13.

5. The British actor married Swiss model María Dolores Diéguez in 2009 and has two daughters.

The special titled Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon will air on Sky Arts channel and will be based on Jackson's rumoured post-9/11 road trip with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando from New York to Ohio.

Stockard Channing and Brian Cox will play Taylor and Brando respectively in the upcoming show. Sky Arts, has not yet declared any premiere date.