Michael Jackson Really Wanted to Play Professor X in 'X-Men'
His sister Janet also tried to land a role in the 2000 film
Published Jul 31, 2020Just over 20 years ago, the live-action X-Men franchise was born, which included the near-perfect casting of Patrick Stewart in the role of the bald-headed telepathic mutant, Professor Charles Xavier. As lucky as the casting team were to get Stewart on board, it appears they had their pick of the litter at the time, as it's now been made clear that the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, was pretty determined to get the role.
In a new retrospective by The Hollywood Reporter, X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner revealed that Jackson was truly gunning for the part at the time — despite the obvious mismatching of appearances.
"I said to him, 'Do you know Xavier is an older white guy?'" Donner recalled. "And Michael said, 'Oh yeah. You know, I can wear makeup.'"
Donner explained that Jackson brought an elaborate presentation with him to the Fox office back in 1999 in order to convince execs to let him in on the project. She said the singer included a screening of his 1996 short film Ghost, in which he played a white character, to convince the panel.
Though filmmakers never seriously considered Jackson for the role, executive producer Ralph Winter remembers his bid as a "warm memory."
"Michael Jackson was a big comic fan," Winter told the Observer in a recent interview, adding, "Shaquille O'Neal showed up at the offices and wanted to play Forge, who wasn't in the movie."
In addition to Jackson and Shaq's bids, it has also been revealed that younger Jackson, Janet, had also auditioned for a role in the film. Back in '99, she attempted to nab the role of Storm. So did Mariah Carey, oddly enough.
Watch the 2000 trailer below, and try to envision what the film would have looked like with singers and athletes in the actors' places.