Article: Michael Jackson wanted the role of Professor Xavier in X-Men and met with producers in 1999

Themidwestcowboy

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The film X-Men came out exactly 20 years ago this month, and with that anniversary comes the revelation of a bizarre bit of backstory behind the superhero film.

As seen in an expose in The Hollywood Reporter on Friday, it turns out that Michael Jackson had set his sights on portraying the bald, wheelchair-bound Professor Charles Xavier in the film, which came out on July 14th, 2000.

Apparently, the King Of Pop went so far as to schedule a meeting with controversial director Bryan Singer and the film's producers at the time, for which he had prepared an elaborate presentation.

'I said to him, "Do you know Xavier is an older white guy?"' producer Lauren Shuler Donner recalled of the curious encounter in the spring of 1999.
'And Michael said, "Oh yeah. You know, I can wear makeup." During the meeting, for which MJ wore 'sunglasses and refus[ed] to shake hands,' he presented his 1997 short film Ghosts, in which 'the pop star morphed into a 60-something white mayor railing against a well-meaning performer who entertains local children with magic tricks.'


The THR piece confirms that Twentieth Century Fox, the studio behind X-Men, 'never seriously considered Jackson for the role,' ultimately giving it to Star Trek alum Patrick Stewart for what would become another hallmark role in the Englishman's career.

What's more, 'Michael was already in the thick of all his allegations by X-Men,' a former executive also recalled.

Regardless of those long-debated sexual misconduct claims, it was true that Jackson had an affinity for children, developing his Neverland ranch north of Santa Barbara, California as a veritable wonderland for kids. Perhaps it was for that reason that the role of Professor X, who runs Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters for wayward mutant youth, appealed to Michael.

Stewart, meanwhile, went on to portray the powerful mutant telepath in at least three more films, before an earlier iteration of the character was brought to life in subsequent films by James McAvoy.

X-Men, which was both a critical and box-office hit back in 2000, came out before the formation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it is known today, however the film was a groundbreaking in its portrayal of mutants as misunderstood misfits of society.

The X-Men franchise has spawned a total of 12 films grossing over $6 billion worldwide.

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowb...-Professor-Xavier-X-Men-met-producers-it.html
 

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Apparently, this is connected to Michael Jackson’s desire to buy the rights to the Marvel Comics in the ‘90s.

He believed that if he bought them, then it would be easier for him to play not only the Spider-Man character but also the Professor Charles Xavier character from the X-Men.

Spider-Man and the X-Men were owned by the Marvel Comics at that time.

I do not believe that Michael Jackson refused to shake hands at that meeting in 1999 (as the producer Lauren Shuler recalls) because Michael Jackson went there because he wanted to get a job (to get that specific role), so refusing to shake hands on his part on such an occasion certainly would not help him to get the job.
 

Themidwestcowboy

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mj_frenzy;4299903 said:
Apparently, this is connected to Michael Jackson’s desire to buy the rights to the Marvel Comics in the ‘90s.

He believed that if he bought them, then it would be easier for him to play not only the Spider-Man character but also the Professor Charles Xavier character from the X-Men.

Spider-Man and the X-Men were owned by the Marvel Comics at that time.

I do not believe that Michael Jackson refused to shake hands at that meeting in 1999 (as the producer Lauren Shuler recalls) because Michael Jackson went there because he wanted to get a job (to get that specific role), so refusing to shake hands on his part on such an occasion certainly would not help him to get the job.

I don't believe that either.
 

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Spiderman was ridiculous enough, but Professor X too... Big yikes.

Also, on a mod note: There's plenty of non tabloid reports of this story. When posting articles please try and avoid using tabloids. And the Daily Fail is one of the worst we have over here.
 

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I guess when you're used to no one ever telling you "no" you believe you can do absolutely anything
 

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NatureCriminal7896;4299950 said:
???? i don't get it can someone explain this to me please?

Professor Xavier is an iconic character from the X-Men comics which were adapted into a blockbuster film series. Professor Xavier is old, bald and white. So according to this story — assuming it's true, but after the Spiderman thing I wouldn't be surprised — Michael wanted to play an old, bald, white man in a major motion picture franchise. Apparently in his mind this was a reasonable and realistic prospect...
 

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Anna;4299974 said:
Professor Xavier is an iconic character from the X-Men comics which were adapted into a blockbuster film series. Professor Xavier is old, bald and white. So according to this story — assuming it's true, but after the Spiderman thing I wouldn't be surprised — Michael wanted to play an old, bald, white man in a major motion picture franchise. Apparently in his mind this was a reasonable and realistic prospect...

Spider Man COULD have worked if they went for a Batman Beyond-like story where he's an older Peter Parker that needed to retire and pass the torch, but that's not the story they went with (and a good call, too; the origin story was the best route for Spidey's first big movie). Not sure what Michael was thinking wanting to play Xavier (assuming if this story is even true); probably just child-like naivety.
 

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I agree with amaya. spiderman would have been a better choice for him in my opinion. this was 1999. michael was in his 40's? i mean maybe.... if he was healthy enough for his age. i try not to judge people. it could of work out. i don't know.
 

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Spider Man COULD have worked if they went for a Batman Beyond-like story where he's an older Peter Parker that needed to retire and pass the torch, but that's not the story they went with (and a good call, too; the origin story was the best route for Spidey's first big movie). Not sure what Michael was thinking wanting to play Xavier (assuming if this story is even true); probably just child-like naivety.

It could have worked in the early 80s, maybe. After that I don't think Michael Jackson starring in Hollywood blockbuster film franchises is realistic in the slightest.
 

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I remember a story that Mike wanted to play Edgar Allan Poe in a biopic. This was in the late 1980s or in the 1990s, don't remember exactly.
 

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NatureCriminal7896;4299984 said:
He also want it to play James Bond.

If this is true then this doesn’t sit right with me.
At least for Xavier you could use different examples where white comic book characters has been played by people of color like Nick Fury by Samuel L Jackson,Aquaman by Jason Momoa, Sue Storm by Jessica Alba or Johnny Storm played by Michael B Jordan. But Michael persistently pushing to play major white characters doesn’t sit too well with me.
 

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Themidwestcowboy;4300027 said:
If this is true then this doesn’t sit right with me.
At least for Xavier you could use different examples where white comic book characters has been played by people of color like Nick Fury by Samuel L Jackson,Aquaman by Jason Momoa, Sue Storm by Jessica Alba or Johnny Storm played by Michael B Jordan. But Michael persistently pushing to play major white characters doesn’t sit too well with me.

Due to the power structures in the entertainment business, the majority of interesting roles in films are unfortunately written as white characters. Roles that are specifically written for Black people are often still stereotypes. Why should MJ limit himself in that way?

If Doctor Who can be a woman, then James Bond can be Black. That’s progress. :)

That said, I think the Bond thing was only a rumor.
 

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Themidwestcowboy;4300027 said:
If this is true then this doesn’t sit right with me.
At least for Xavier you could use different examples where white comic book characters has been played by people of color like Nick Fury by Samuel L Jackson,Aquaman by Jason Momoa, Sue Storm by Jessica Alba or Johnny Storm played by Michael B Jordan. But Michael persistently pushing to play major white characters doesn’t sit too well with me.

i respect your opinion. i wouldn't mind seeing MJ as James Bond. he would of been the first African American to play him. but yeah in my opinion i feel some characters should stay how they were original created by the artist and/or writer and give permission to change them etc.
 

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NatureCriminal7896;4300031 said:
i respect your opinion. i wouldn't mind seeing MJ as James Bond. he would of been the first African American to play him. but yeah in my opinion i feel some characters should stay how they were original created by the artist and/or writer and give permission to change them etc.

But there is a difference. I don’t know much about the Bond rumor but those other actors who played white characters wasn’t portraying themselves as white while playing them. They were written to be black in the movie. That is not the case with Xavier as Michael showed them a tape of him playing the mayor in ghosts to convince them he could play a white guy with prosthetics and make up etc. Edgar Allan Poe would be a autobiography of a white person! Imagine if a white person played James Brown in an autobiographical movie. Imo that’s completely wrong and a bit tone deaf to try to pull something off like that.
 

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Themidwestcowboy;4300032 said:
But there is a difference. I don’t know much about the Bond rumor but those other actors who played white characters wasn’t portraying themselves as white while playing them. They were written to be black in the movie. That is not the case with Xavier as Michael showed them a tape of him playing the mayor in ghosts to convince them he could play a white guy with prosthetics and make up etc. Edgar Allan Poe would be a autobiography of a white person! Imagine if a white person played James Brown in an autobiographical movie. Imo that’s completely wrong and a bit tone deaf to try to pull something off like that.

Oh now i get what you are saying. yeah that would be kind of mess up. even if he did played one of those characters we all knew he was black. but i get what you mean.
 

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Themidwestcowboy;4300032 said:
But there is a difference. I don’t know much about the Bond rumor but those other actors who played white characters wasn’t portraying themselves as white while playing them. They were written to be black in the movie. That is not the case with Xavier as Michael showed them a tape of him playing the mayor in ghosts to convince them he could play a white guy with prosthetics and make up etc. Edgar Allan Poe would be a autobiography of a white person! Imagine if a white person played James Brown in an autobiographical movie. Imo that’s completely wrong and a bit tone deaf to try to pull something off like that.

Biographical movies are different from purely fictional movies. James Brown is James Brown. But James Bond can be re-imagined, just like any fictional character. But even with biographical movies I don’t really see a problem. You have to consider that MJ was in a very unique situation with his vitiligo. I would very much have liked to see him as Edgar Allan Poe, if that’s a character that inspired him. And that role wouldn’t even have required a Ghosts-mayor type of visual transformation. I mean, MJ didn’t choose to have vitiligo, so what was he supposed to do?

This whole scenario is completely different from that of a white actor playing James Brown. Not only because of the obvious blackface issue, but also because it would take a big role away from a Black actor, while Black people are still underrepresented in the movies.
 

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All historical and non fiction characters need to stay their original race and culture. that's like getting a white actor to play martin luther king.

still in my opinion fiction characters need to stay how their original made only with permission to change them.
 

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Before michael pass away he said he wouldn't never want a white actor playing him in any kind of movie. he wanted a black actor. yes michael had vitiligo but he was still black.

i feel it's up to person who they want acting them.

i guess we all just have our opinions here.
 

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ScreenOrigami;4300038 said:
Biographical movies are different from purely fictional movies. James Brown is James Brown. But James Bond can be re-imagined, just like any fictional character. But even with biographical movies I don’t really see a problem. You have to consider that MJ was in a very unique situation with his vitiligo. I would very much have liked to see him as Edgar Allan Poe, if that’s a character that inspired him. And that role wouldn’t even have required a Ghosts-mayor type of visual transformation. I mean, MJ didn’t choose to have vitiligo, so what was he supposed to do?

This whole scenario is completely different from that of a white actor playing James Brown. Not only because of the obvious blackface issue, but also because it would take a big role away from a Black actor, while Black people are still underrepresented in the movies.

Both yes and no about the James Bond part. I agree that a fictional character like James Bond could get reimagined because 007 is just a title after all. See that’s the point cause if they wanted to create a James Bond that was black than go ahead, I see nothing wrong with that but I do think it is wrong having BLACK MAN portray a character who is inherently white in a movie despite the circumstances.

So by this logic a really tanned white person should be able to play a person of color? Or better dark East Indians be able to play Afro American characters because they are an underrepresented group right? It’s not just about color it’s about race and ethnicity and to me it’s only sensible that they cast people of right origin when they make autobiographical movies. I’m sure they were many other roles MJ could have played.

I don’t think MJ meant any harm and that he really thought this was a good idea because he has cosplayed as Charlie Chaplin many times and was even suppose to play Peter Pan in the early 80s.
 

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movie roles

Due to the power structures in the entertainment business, the majority of interesting roles in films are unfortunately written as white characters. Roles that are specifically written for Black people are often still stereotypes. Why should MJ limit himself in that way?
Denzel Washington has managed to have a successful career without doing that. The mainstream white audience will sometimes go to see a specific black actor like Denzel, Eddie Murphy, Will Smith, Sidney Poitier, Kevin Hart, etc. But they're often in movies where they're the only black person in the movie or they're partnered with a white actor like Lethal Weapon or Men In Black. Also some of the roles they played could have been anybody. Sylvester Stallone was originally supposed to play the lead in Beverly Hills Cop. Nutty Professor was a remake of a Jerry Lewis movie. They weren't really black characters, just a black actor playing them. Movies with a majority non-white cast rarely became a big box office hit or get released outside of the USA. They don't get the same budgets as white cast movies either. That's why a big deal was made about Black Panther, the first mostly black cast movie that got that kind of budget. Those blaxploitation movies in the 1970s were mostly low budget.

Wesley Snipes tried to get a Black Panther movie made in the 1990s, but it didn't work out. So he tried again with Blade and it became a hit. Robert Townsend made up his own superhero in the movie Meteor Man. They didn't try to make a movie playing Spider-Man. Edgar Allan Poe is a real person, why pick him? There's black authors like Langston Hughes. Also Mike said he turned down A Chorus Line because the character he was offered was homosexual and figured people would see him that way. But Poe was a drug addict & alcoholic and he married his teenage cousin. So I figure its a good thing that movie didn't get made if that story about Mike planning to play Poe is true. Not a good look considering what happened to Mike.
 

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Themidwestcowboy;4300043 said:
Both yes and no about the James Bond part. I agree that a fictional character like James Bond could get reimagined because 007 is just a title after all. See that’s the point cause if they wanted to create a James Bond that was black than go ahead, I see nothing wrong with that but I do think it is wrong having BLACK MAN portray a character who is inherently white in a movie despite the circumstances.

So by this logic a really tanned white person should be able to play a person of color? Or better dark East Indians be able to play Afro American characters because they are an underrepresented group right? It’s not just about color it’s about race and ethnicity and to me it’s only sensible that they cast people of right origin when they make autobiographical movies. I’m sure they were many other roles MJ could have played.

I don’t think MJ meant any harm and that he really thought this was a good idea because he has cosplayed as Charlie Chaplin many times and was even suppose to play Peter Pan in the early 80s.


MJ as Chaplin’s Tramp is actually a great example. I like the old and the new. :)

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5091ee81b88a82fba88e50ccd23f544e.jpg


I don’t see why Edgar Allan Poe wouldn’t work.
 

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I don't see why your colour should determine what roles you should and shouldn't play. I personally don't see why a black person can't play a character that was written as white. And I also don't see anything wrong with a white person playing a character that was written as black.
 

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DuranDuran;4300045 said:
Edgar Allan Poe is a real person, why pick him? There's black authors like Langston Hughes. Also Mike said he turned down A Chorus Line because the character he was offered was homosexual and figured people would see him that way. But Poe was a drug addict & alcoholic and he married his teenage cousin. So I figure its a good thing that movie didn't get made if that story about Mike planning to play Poe is true. Not a good look considering what happened to Mike.

As far as I know, when he turned down the role in A Chorus Line, he was still a Jehova’s Witness. That might have complicated the situation for him. And as for Edgar Allan Poe, I don’t know what kind of biography was considered if the story is true at all, but I know that Poe was a victim of character assassination. There was a serious attempt to destroy his reputation, so many of the stories about him are simply not true, or only partly true. So, it would have largely depended on which way they were going to spin the narrative.

Again, I think MJ was in a very unique situation, and in my opinion he shouldn’t be denied a movie role because of a skin condition that’s not in his control. If there’s a role that you want to play, go for it. If the acting is good, the suspension of disbelief will always sort out the rest anyway.
 

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I don't see why your colour should determine what roles you should and shouldn't play. I personally don't see why a black person can't play a character that was written as white. And I also don't see anything wrong with a white person playing a character that was written as black.
So you're saying that Clint Eastwood could play Madea (Tyler Perry)? :rofl: That wouldn't make any sense at all if Madea is white and everybody else in the movie is the same. Although Madea isn't a real person, the character is obviously based on certain older black women. It's like replacing Robert DeNiro with Jackie Chan in a mafia movie. Why would a Chinese guy be the leader of an Italian mob? The Chinese mob would be the Triads. Some roles can be played by any race like a generic policeman, but others can't. A lot of blaxploitation movies were about black people fighting against "whitey" or "The Man" because of long standing white supremacy oppression & Jim Crow in the USA. It's not the same thing with "whitey" fighting "whitey". The entire message of the movie would be different. It also wouldn't make sense for a Puerto Rican to play a Nazi skinhead in a movie, because a Puerto Rican wouldn't be allowed to join the group in the first place, nor would a Japanese person be accepted into the Ku Klux Klan.
 

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ScreenOrigami;4300048 said:
If there’s a role that you want to play, go for it. If the acting is good, the suspension of disbelief will always sort out the rest anyway.
So you can buy John Wayne playing Genghis Khan (who was a real person) in The Conqueror?
[video=youtube;pKxtQzwoHH8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKxtQzwoHH8[/video]
 

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I just went over to Wikipedia to refresh my memory about Poe’s character assassination after his death. Check this out and see if any of this sounds familiar:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe#Griswold's_%22Memoir%22

Edit: I just realized it’s not that long, so I’m pasting it here, for your convenience:

===

Immediately after Poe's death, his literary rival Rufus Wilmot Griswold wrote a slanted high-profile obituary under a pseudonym, filled with falsehoods that cast him as a lunatic and a madman, and which described him as a person who "walked the streets, in madness or melancholy, with lips moving in indistinct curses, or with eyes upturned in passionate prayers, (never for himself, for he felt, or professed to feel, that he was already damned)".[82]

The long obituary appeared in the New York Tribune signed "Ludwig" on the day that Poe was buried. It was soon further published throughout the country. The piece began, "Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it."[83] "Ludwig" was soon identified as Griswold, an editor, critic, and anthologist who had borne a grudge against Poe since 1842. Griswold somehow became Poe's literary executor and attempted to destroy his enemy's reputation after his death.[84]

Griswold wrote a biographical article of Poe called "Memoir of the Author", which he included in an 1850 volume of the collected works. There he depicted Poe as a depraved, drunken, drug-addled madman and included Poe's letters as evidence.[84] Many of his claims were either lies or distorted half-truths. For example, it is seriously disputed that Poe really was a drug addict.[85] Griswold's book was denounced by those who knew Poe well,[86] including John Neal, who published an article defending Poe and attacking Griswold as “a Rhadamanthus, who is not to be bilked of his fee, a thimble-full of newspaper notoriety.”[87] Griswold's book nevertheless became a popularly accepted biographical source. This occurred in part because it was the only full biography available and was widely reprinted, and in part because readers thrilled at the thought of reading works by an "evil" man.[88] Letters that Griswold presented as proof were later revealed to be forgeries.[89]

After Poe's death, Griswold convinced Poe's mother-in-law to sign away the rights to his works. Griswold went on to publish the collected works attached with his own fabricated biography of Poe that invented stories of his drunkenness, immorality and instability.

===
 
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So you're saying that Clint Eastwood could play Madea (Tyler Perry)? :rofl: That wouldn't make any sense at all if Madea is white and everybody else in the movie is the same. Although Madea isn't a real person, the character is obviously based on certain older black women. It's like replacing Robert DeNiro with Jackie Chan in a mafia movie. Why would a Chinese guy be the leader of an Italian mob? The Chinese mob would be the Triads. Some roles can be played by any race like a generic policeman, but others can't. A lot of blaxploitation movies were about black people fighting against "whitey" or "The Man" because of long standing white supremacy oppression & Jim Crow in the USA. It's not the same thing with "whitey" fighting "whitey". The entire message of the movie would be different. It also wouldn't make sense for a Puerto Rican to play a Nazi skinhead in a movie, because a Puerto Rican wouldn't be allowed to join the group in the first place, nor would a Japanese person be accepted into the Ku Klux Klan.

I was referring to fictional characters like Spiderman, Xman, James Bond in my post. Obviously characters that are inspired by real life people such as a Nazi or KKK member or a leader of an Italian mob should be played by people of the appropriate race. But characters like Spiderman can be played by people of any race and that is exactly what I was talking about in my post.

I'm surprised that someone who acts like 'Mr I Know It All' couldn't figure out what I was trying to say in my post.
 
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