Category: Creed

Press: Why Michael B. Jordan Is More Than a Movie Star

Press: Why Michael B. Jordan Is More Than a Movie Star

This piece contains mild spoilers for “Creed II.”

In the third act of “Creed II,” the heavyweight champ Adonis Creed squares off in a rematch against Viktor Drago, the Ukraine-based boxer and son of the man who killed Adonis’s father in the ring three decades earlier. Bloodied and weary after several rounds — but ever the tenacious fighter — Adonis gathers the will to keep going with the encouragement of his coach and mentor, Rocky Balboa.

“I’m dangerous!” Adonis sputters through his swollen mouth, echoing the pronouncement he had given Rocky in an earlier scene, under vastly different circumstances.

It is the movie’s “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose,” the inspirational battle cry of the protagonist as he faces the challenge of his life. As said by the actor Michael B. Jordan, who delivers the line not with a guttural oomph but the eager-to-please fervor of a young kid hoping to impress his father, it doesn’t quite carry the intimidation the line seems to demand. Nevertheless, it is both endearing and invigorating — you just know Adonis is ready to conquer Viktor this time around.

It’s this moment that may help explain why, in the same year Jordan has received some of the most glowing reviews of his career for playing Killmonger in “Black Panther,” a debate has percolated on Reddit, Twitter and in everyday conversations among pop culture enthusiasts: Is Michael B. Jordan a good actor?

Where some see a fascinating interpretation of a supervillain, others see bad acting. Critics of Jordan say that he lacks the swagger and menace of the Killmonger character and that he appears to be reading off cue cards. (One of the movie’s most-discussed lines, “Just bury me in the ocean, with my ancestors that jumped from the ships — they knew death was better than bondage,” is usually held up as the prime example.) To some extent, I can understand these sentiments; like Adonis declaring himself “dangerous,” the idea of what Killmonger represents — a problematic, burn-it-all-down philosophy in the name of black empowerment — sometimes overpowers Jordan’s interpretation onscreen.

Still, the arguments made against his acting abilities more generally are perplexing: He doesn’t disappear into his roles (as Jamie Foxx did in “Ray”); he always plays the same character. Such critiques miss the point: Jordan has made it clear he desires to be a capital “M” Movie Star, along the lines of Will Smith (who himself has always been transparent about his box-office aspirations), not a character actor. “I want people to see me win,” he told The New York Times in a conversation alongside Denzel Washington earlier this year, adding, “I want to be the leading man.”

And there always have been actors who are considered great who aren’t chameleons like Christian Bale or Meryl Streep — you never forget you’re watching Denzel Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio or Cary Grant, but you are drawn in nonetheless.

Jordan’s strengths as an actor lie not in his ability to shock or scare or surprise — but in his willingness to be vulnerable and charismatic. These qualities have been evident as far back as his early breakthrough role as Wallace, a bright, baby-faced drug dealer in “The Wire.” Over the course of Season 1, Wallace looks after some of the younger abandoned children in the housing projects and experiences pangs of extreme guilt when his actions inadvertently lead to a murder. Jordan lent the character openness and sensitivity: He embodies the good-hearted kid who isn’t cut out for the ruthlessness of the drug trade, making his death at the hands of his childhood friends — and his pleas to them in those final moments — that much more heartbreaking.

In “Fruitvale Station” more than a decade later, his first major star turn and first collaboration with the director Ryan Coogler, Jordan portrayed Oscar Grant III, a young man who was killed by a police officer in Oakland, Calif., without painting him as a saint.

In one scene, we see Oscar interact with three people over the course of just a couple of minutes, and his demeanor shifts seamlessly between each exchange. He pleads with the manager of the grocery store where he once worked to rehire him, but quickly turns angry and combative when rebuffed, revealing Oscar’s desperation under dire financial straits. Left alone in the aisle, the camera lingers briefly on Oscar, contemplating the severity of his situation, before the voice of a woman he assisted earlier breaks through to thank him for his help; here he effortlessly turns on the charm. Finally, he greets his friend working the deli counter with a warm, genial familiarity, and lies about having convinced the manager to give him his job back.

As he finally exits the store and turns away from his friend, his smile fades, and a sense of helplessness washes over his face. These are subtle exchanges, but engrossing nonetheless — a brilliant, succinct depiction of everyday code switching, and it works mainly because Jordan carries it off so well.

“Creed II” takes the idiosyncrasies Jordan has honed in his onscreen persona throughout the course of his career and fully reveals the kind of actor he is capable of becoming. If not as surprisingly profound as its immediate predecessor, “Creed,” the latest “Rocky” installment portrays Adonis as an underdog despite being a heavyweight champ, a celebrated fighter who still has much to prove. He’s handsome and lovable, but not necessarily smooth, as seen in a lighthearted moment where Adonis nervously asks Bianca to marry him. He feels unsatisfied by his success.

In “Creed II,” Jordan shows how he can translate an array of emotions with just a look. When Adonis and Bianca await the results of a test for their newborn daughter, Jordan displays anxiety, fear and an overwhelming sense of sadness at the recognition of what may be ahead for his family.

Giving such a performance in a crowd-pleasing sequel positions Jordan in the realm of other actors he has name-checked as having the careers he wishes to emulate: Washington, Smith, Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio. You can see a bit of each of those actors in Jordan’s career moves so far — the transition from troubled youth roles into hunky A-lister (DiCaprio in “The Basketball Diaries,” and later “Titanic” and “The Departed”); the prestigious boxing part requiring tremendous physical transformation (Washington in “The Hurricane” and Smith in “Ali”); ventures into the realm of sci-fi/fantasy (Cruise in “War of the Worlds,” “Minority Report”).

It’s rare these days for actors to open movies on the strength of their names and charming personas alone, but in developing a respected partnership with Coogler — like Washington and Spike Lee, and DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese — and starting his own production company to create the roles he wants, Jordan has molded himself into a performer who takes on prestigious projects that also play up his good looks.

Whether this leads down the path of Oscar nods — still Hollywood’s ultimate marker of having made it, however superficially — remains to be seen. But when he taps into his sensitivity, turns on the charm and lays his feelings bare in any given moment, he’s electrifying.

Source: NY Times

Press: Nike’s Adonis Creed Collection Is Athleisure Excellence

Press: Nike’s Adonis Creed Collection Is Athleisure Excellence

Sure, he’s a fictional boxer. But you should still want to dress like him.

When it comes to extremely sought-after collaborations, Nike reigns supreme. That’s true on the fashion side of things, which includes tapping designers like Virgil Abloh, Riccardo Tisci, Kim Jones, and Rei Kawakubo. (And that’s not even half of the Swoosh’s arsenal of designers, by the way.) And then there are the collections branded with names from Nike’s all-star lineup of athletes: the LeBron Jameses and Odell Beckhams of the world. (Again, that’s not even half of it.) But for the brand’s latest collaboration, Nike looked elsewhere and turned to a tough-as-nails boxer named Adonis Creed—who just happens to be a fictional movie character.

Nike’s new training collection is inspired by GQ Man of the Year Michael B. Jordan’s role as the gritty young boxer in the mega-popular movie of the same name. With the hyped-up sequel—Creed II, natch—set to drop later this month, it only seems fitting that that film’s title character gets his own clothing collection. There is a limited-edition version of Nike’s standout training sneaker, a Nike Metcon that has been outfitted with an extended bootie construction, a removable strap, and signature Adonis Creed branding. In addition to the kicks, the collection includes a variety of high-performance workout gear. There’s a hooded long-sleeve top that’s made of a thermal, sweat-wicking fabric; a pair of shorts constructed of a flexible and water-repellent material; and training pants that look sleek enough to wear outside of the gym. This certainly isn’t a one-off graphic tee adorned with a logo from a movie poster—Nike went all out with this collection, as if it were for a star athlete. And with good reason: Adonis’s onscreen workout gear was deeply on point the last time around.

Michael B. Jordan boxing
Nike

Sure, he’s a fictional boxer. But you should still want to dress like him.

When it comes to extremely sought-after collaborations, Nike reigns supreme. That’s true on the fashion side of things, which includes tapping designers like Virgil Abloh, Riccardo Tisci, Kim Jones, and Rei Kawakubo. (And that’s not even half of the Swoosh’s arsenal of designers, by the way.) And then there are the collections branded with names from Nike’s all-star lineup of athletes: the LeBron Jameses and Odell Beckhams of the world. (Again, that’s not even half of it.) But for the brand’s latest collaboration, Nike looked elsewhere and turned to a tough-as-nails boxer named Adonis Creed—who just happens to be a fictional movie character.

Nike’s new training collection is inspired by GQ Man of the Year Michael B. Jordan’s role as the gritty young boxer in the mega-popular movie of the same name. With the hyped-up sequel—Creed II, natch—set to drop later this month, it only seems fitting that that film’s title character gets his own clothing collection. There is a limited-edition version of Nike’s standout training sneaker, a Nike Metcon that has been outfitted with an extended bootie construction, a removable strap, and signature Adonis Creed branding. In addition to the kicks, the collection includes a variety of high-performance workout gear. There’s a hooded long-sleeve top that’s made of a thermal, sweat-wicking fabric; a pair of shorts constructed of a flexible and water-repellent material; and training pants that look sleek enough to wear outside of the gym. This certainly isn’t a one-off graphic tee adorned with a logo from a movie poster—Nike went all out with this collection, as if it were for a star athlete. And with good reason: Adonis’s onscreen workout gear was deeply on point the last time around.
WATCH
Jayson Tatum’s Rare Sneaker Collection

In today’s climate of peak collaboration, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise to see a fictional character get his own sportswear collection. Michael B. Jordan is a huge movie star, and the inspiration comes from an iconic film franchise, after all. Even the Philadelphia 76ers have limited-edition uniforms that were designed to look like the iconic sweat suits worn by both Adonis Creed and the original fictional Philly boxer, Rocky. There’s never been a better time to buy gray sweats.

Available via Nike.

Source: GQ

Press/Video: Check Out Michael B. Jordan Boxing With Sylvester Stallone On The Creed Set

Press/Video: Check Out Michael B. Jordan Boxing With Sylvester Stallone On The Creed Set

We’re only a week away from Creed II hitting theaters, which means some of you reading, if you haven’t already, will re-watch 2015’s Creed to refresh your memory on what happened there. Michael B. Jordan doesn’t have to do that; he lived through it. But along with having fond memories of shooting Creed, Jordan also has access to behind-the-scenes videos of the creative process, like the one below showing him getting some boxing practice in with Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone.

Just because Rocky Balboa has been retired from boxing since the events of Rocky V (excluding his brief return in Rocky Balboa) doesn’t mean that he still can’t practice a little while coaching Adonis Creed. There’s a lot of different ways to prepare for boxing matches, and going a few rounds on the speed bag is one of them. Adonis does this several times during Creed, but there’s a particularly cool moment during one of the training montages where we see Adonis and Rocky both pummeling their speed bags at once. This is them practicing that scene, and you can watch the final version below.

As Michael B. Jordan notes in his Instagram post, he came across this video while going through his phone’s archives, and having watched the Rocky movies growing up and mimicked the boxing matches, getting to hit the speed bag with Sylvester Stallone was “surreal.” Even better, he got to do it a second time with Creed II. Jordan’s acted in various cool projects, but getting to work alongside Stallone in the Creed movies helps him feel the same way he did when he watched Rocky in action as a kid.

Having already followed in his late father’s footsteps and gotten a little boxing experience on his own, Adonis Creed (previously Johnson) headed to Philadelphia early into the first Creed movie to seek Rocky Balboa’s help in going pro after quitting his job and failing to get into the Delphi Boxing Academy. With Rocky’s help, and due to his true parentage being leaked to the press, Adonis ended up facing off against “Pretty” Ricky Conlan. Just like how Rocky lost his first bout with Apollo Creed four decades earlier, Adonis lost against Conlan, but it didn’t matter, because he had a bright future in boxing ahead of him.

Creed II picks up with Adonis several years later, where he’ll face off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago, the man who famously killed Apollo Creed in Rocky IV. Adonis hopes he can use this match to finally avenge his father, whereas Ivan hopes to use his son to reclaim the glory he lost when Rocky beat him. Since Rocky appears to be doing better than he was in the latter half of Creed, fingers crossed we get to see him briefly partake in some training with Adonis again.

Creed II opens in theaters on November 21.

Source: CinemaBlend

Press/Video: Michael B. Jordan on being a role model, millennial love and inclusion riders

Michael B. Jordan talked to us about relating to his “Black Panther” character Killmonger, the return of Adonis Creed in “Creed II,” what it’s like being a role model, and inclusion riders.

Press: Sly Stallone And Michael B. Jordan Sparring On The Set Of Creed II Has Us Pumped For The Movie

Press: Sly Stallone And Michael B. Jordan Sparring On The Set Of Creed II Has Us Pumped For The Movie

Creed surprised a lot of people by breathing new life into the Rocky franchise and now we can’t wait to see the sequel later this year. Our excitement for Creed II is only increasing as we get another look at the forthcoming film. Following on a pair of official images that were recently released, Sylvester Stallone has dropped another, unofficial image, which shows him taking shots at Michael B. Jordan while filming the upcoming movie. Check it out.

The image shows Michael B. Jordan, or at least Sly says that’s him, we can’t really tell because he’s got his gloves up guarding his face, while Stallone takes a shot to the body. We also see Creed II director Steven Caple Jr. watching it all unfold, possibly taking notes for some future scene.

I was incredibly excited for Creed when it came out and was utterly thrilled with the quality of the result. It only makes it that much more exciting that the sequel is on its way to us. While Ryan Coogler didn’t write or direct the sequel, we’re seeing a script that was co-written by Sylvester Stallone,. who is responsible for every other film in the series with the exception of Creed. The more interesting change is Steven Caple Jr. taking over as director. Creed II is only his second feature film, his first being The Land, based on a screenplay he wrote himself. This makes the director something of an X-factor, as we don’t really know what to expect from him. However, Ryan Coogler gave Caple Jr. his seal of approval, so fans likely don’t need to worry.

Creed was both the continuation of the Rocky story as well as the launching of a new franchise following the career of Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky’s longtime friend and opponent Apollo. Creed II will continue both of these threads, as it will be a sequel to not only the original Creed but also will follow directly on the events of Rocky IV. In that film, Apollo was killed by Russian boxer Ivan Drago. Creed II will see Adonis Creed attempt a measure of revenge when he fights Ivan Drago’s son in the ring.

The first trailer for Creed II focused on the relationship between Rocky and Adonis, and how said relationship was being tested by Creed’s desire to fight Drago. What it didn’t show us was much of anything regarding the other side of the fight. One expects will get at least one more trailer between now and the release of the film November 21 which will show us that side of the conflict, and likely tease the return of Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago.

Source: Cinema Blend