8 famous film roles that Michael Jackson wanted to play (and would have made unwatchable)

  • 8 famous film roles that Michael Jackson wanted to play (and would have made unwatchable)

Michael Jackson was probably the biggest music star on the planet, his albums sold in the millions and his songs are just as iconic as when they were first released.

Unlike most music stars, he didn't move into big budget films, with a small amount of appearances in The Wiz, Captain EO and his short films/music video anthology Moonwalker.

But MJ was desperate to become a big Hollywood name, and the film landscape would have been a lot different if he'd have been in the films in which he wanted to be cast, including...

He wanted to replace Will Smith as Men in Black's main character

When MJ saw Men in Black, he called up director Barry Sonnenfeld to tell him the ending caused him to weep uncontrollably, to which the director had to explain to the King of Pop that it was supposed to be a comedy.

Jackson then spoke to the execs at Sony - both MJ's record label and the studio behind MiB, to try and get himself into the sequel.

Not just any role, he wanted to replace Will Smith as the lead character even offering to do it for free so long as he could step into the Fresh Prince's black suit.

Sony refused, as Smith was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood while Jacko's profile was well and truly on the slide.

Still, Jackson was given a cameo in the sequel, which also pokes fun at his desperation to be in the Men in Black.

He wanted to play Willy Wonka in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

When it was announced back in 2003 that Tim Burton was remaking Roald Dahl's classic take of child endangerment and slave labour Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Michael Jackson motored into action.

Jackson was so desperate to play Willy Wonka that he recorded an entire soundtrack for film off his own back in a bid to encourage Warner Bros. execs to cast him as the eccentric chocolatier.

The bosses at Warner Bros. loved the soundtrack but were understandably uncomfortable with MJ - after all his personal and legal troubles - playing Wonka.

Instead, they asked him to name his price for the soundtrack, as well as finding him a (non-Willy Wonka) part in the finished film.

When Jackson was told of WB's decision, Jackson was furious, and declared: "If I can’t have the Willy Wonka part, they’re not getting the soundtrack," and shelved it.

Interestingly, it was unanimously regarded that Johnny Depp, who ended up playing Willy Wonka, gave a startling impression of MJ in his portrayal as Willy Wonka - a comparison that Depp strongly denies.

Tim Burton wanted him to star in a musical version of classic horror House of Wax

A long time before the 'Willy Wonka unpleasantness', Tim Burton had pitched a musical based on the 1953 horror flick House of Wax.

The original starred Vincent Price as a wax museum owner who sees his museum burnt down and reopen it 18 months later using human bodies to create the sculptures.

Tim Burton's vision for the remake would be a Sweeny Todd-esque macabre musical starring the King of Pop.

While it isn't known Jackson's thoughts on the idea, Burton explained that his idea was shot down almost immediately.

"I tried to convince the studio to make my idea of a musical version of 'House of Wax' with Michael Jackson. It was many years ago," Burton explained to Yahoo! Movies, "they did not go for that one at all."

Still though we did get a House of Wax remake in 2005, starring Paris Hilton and commanding a 25% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

He wanted to be Spider-Man (and tried to buy Marvel to get the part)

Before Tobey Maguire squeezed himself into the Spidey suit and changed the way we view superhero films, there was another man who wanted the web-slinging hero role.

Lifelong comic book fan, Michael Jackson struck up a friendship with Marvel Comics head Stan Lee and MJ spoke to Lee about his intentions to buy the comic book publisher.

Stan Lee was under the impression that Jackson was looking to buy the rights to Spider-Man so he could appear in a Spidey film as Peter Parker himself.

When asked what sort of Spider-Man Jackson would have made, Lee told moviefone: "I think he'd have been good. I think he'd have been very good. But I must say that Tobey Maguire was wonderful."

Yeah, we're not so sure about that.

He lobbied X-Men director Bryan Singer to cast him as Professor X

When Jackson was looking into buying Marvel back in the '90s and play Spider-Man, he also had his mind set on playing another comic book character on the big screen.

X-Men producer Ralph Winter revealed in 2011 that Jackson lobbied for a role in Bryan Singer's X-Men for the role of Professor X.

While there isn't many details about what happened with Jackson's casting, Patrick Stewart ended up in the wheelchair as the psychic founder of the X-Men.

As an interesting side note, basketball star Shaquille O'Neal also pushed to feature as a mutant with both stars being rebuffed by Singer, ultimately for the better we're sure.

He wanted to play Peter Pan, but not as the version in Hook

It's no surprise that Michael Jackson's mind-set had the singer drawn to the character of Peter Pan - the boy who grew up.

Director supremo Steven Spielberg also must have noted the parallels as the idea for Hook initially started out in 1983 as a Peter Pan musical, specifically to showcase Jackson's skills.

Spielberg instead went to make Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and when he returned to the Peter Pan story in 1989, the details of Hook had developed into what we know now, and Spielberg called Jackson to explain the finer points of the story.

Spielberg told Entertainment Weekly magazine, "Michael had always wanted to play Peter Pan, but I called Michael and I said, 'This is about a lawyer that is brought back to save his kids and discovers that he was once, when he was younger, Peter Pan.'

"Michael understood at that point it wasn't the same Peter Pan he wanted to make."

So MJ never got the chance to play the Peter Pan that he wanted.

He wanted to be a serial killer in the Silence of the Lambs sequel

A variation from the heroes and superheroes that we've seen so far, Michael Jackson was keen on playing the brutal deranged serial killer Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon - the follow-up to The Silence of the Lambs.

Francis Dolarhyde, who also goes by the nickname "The Tooth Fairy," kills entire families during full moons on the command of his alternate personality which he calls "The Great Red Dragon".

Jackson had been friends with Red Dragon's director Brett Ratner ever since Ratner's career as a music video director in the '90s, so must have had to try and influence the director into casting him as the serial killer.

If he did, the ploy didn't work, as Ralph Fiennes was cast as Francis Dolarhyde - which is probably better in the long run.

Despite not getting the role, Jackson still made a surprise visit to the set to visit his old friend Brett Ratner, and presumably eye-up Ralph Fiennes' acting ability.

He wanted to play Jar Jar Binks

Michael Jackson - one of the most beloved music stars of all time wanted to play one of the most despised characters in film history.

That's right, Jacko wanted to play the clumsy, possibly racist and super-annoying Jar Jar Binks... in full prosthetics, rather than George Lucas' plans for a full CGI character.

Ahmed Best, the actor who portrayed the character through the power of motion capture, explained in an interview to Vice that he met MJ backstage at a concert with George Lucas and Natalie Portman:

"George introduced me as ‘Jar Jar,’ and I was like, ‘That’s kind of weird,'" the actor said.

Later Best asked Lucas why he was introduced as his upcoming Star Wars character and Lucas replied: "Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like 'Thriller.'"

“My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie,” Best concluded, “and I don’t think he wanted that.”

So yeah, think of all those great films (and House of Wax) that would have been wildly different if Michael Jackson had have got his wish and been in a starring role...

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