Joseph Fiennes will star as Michael Jackson in a one-off TV comedy set to broadcast later this year — a casting decision that has added fuel to a raging debate about opportunities for nonwhite actors in movies and TV.

The white British star of “Shakespeare in Love” plays the black King of Pop in “Elizabeth, Michael & Marlon,” alongside Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor and Brian Cox as Marlon Brando. The script is based on a — possibly fictitious — road trip the three stars are rumored to have made in an attempt to leave New York after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Sky Arts, which commissioned the drama, confirmed the casting and said that the show is due to air in 2016. The channel said it was “part of a series of comedies about unlikely stories from arts and cultural history.” “We believe in giving producers the creative freedom to cast roles as they wish, within the diversity framework which we have set,” Sky Arts said.

Iggy Pop-Josh Homme at Northrop

Six days after they shocked the rock world by disclosing a secret new album and performing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Iggy Pop and his new partner Josh Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age) announced Wednesday a 20-city tour that includes an April 4 date at Northrop auditorium in Minneapolis. Iggy, 68, hasn’t played the Twin Cities since a 2001 show at First Avenue. The tour begins in Seattle on March 28 — 10 days after the release of their album “Post Pop Depression” — and concludes May 15 in Paris. Tickets, priced at $105, $79.50 and $59.50 plus fees, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday online at or by phone at 612-624-2345. (Tickets, if still available, may also be purchased at the Northrop box office, but it’s only open weekdays.)

Tim Campbell


Rehab: Hotel heir Conrad Hilton, 21, has been ordered into substance abuse treatment for at least 90 days after failing drug tests and violating his probation. Hilton was sentenced to probation and community service last year after pleading guilty to disrupting a British Airways flight. Authorities said he violated probation by trespassing, failing drug tests, failing to complete three treatment programs and traveling out of California without permission.


writing: Trevor Noah is upholding another tradition left from his Comedy Central predecessor Jon Stewart: He’s writing a book. Publisher Spiegel & Grau said it had acquired a collection of personal essays by the 31-year-old Noah about “growing up in South Africa during the last gasps of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that came with its demise.” The book is currently untitled and will come out in November. “I couldn’t find a good book about myself so I decided to write one,” Noah said. Two publishing officials with knowledge of the negotiations said the deal was worth more than $3 million.

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