Michael Jackson played many roles in his 51-year career: werewolf, scarecrow, space captain, Men In Black agent. But in 1999, he had his sights set on one of the most popular bald and geriatric comic book characters in the history of the medium, Professor Xavier. “I said to him, ‘Do you know Xavier is an older white guy?'” Lauren Shuler Donner, an X-Men producer, told The Hollywood Reporter in a piece detailing the controversial past of the hit 2000 film. “And Michael said, ‘Oh yeah. You know, I can wear makeup.'”
According to personnel that worked on X-Men, Jackson visited Bryan Singer and producers during the making of the movie to lobby for the role of the X-Men’s wise, old, and white patriarch. The part eventually (and thankfully) went to Patrick Stewart — an actor who actually looks like Professor Xavier, bald head and all — but not for lack of trying on the King of Pop’s part. During the pitching process, Jackson screened a presentation that included his 1996 short film, Michael Jackson’s Ghosts, to prove that he could transform for the role. An unnamed executive offered, “Michael was already in the thick of all his allegations by X-Men.”
A future X-Men movie is undoubtedly on the horizon. Hopefully, the franchise continues to keep pop stars with delusions of grandeur as far away from the Children of the Atom as possible.