MBJ was recently on The Ellen Show promoting Creed II. Watch him talk social media hook-ups, his GQ Men of the Year status, raising money for the Lupus LA Foundation, and more.
The junket for Creed II is taking place in what may be the most Philadelphian room since they tore down the jail under Veterans Stadium. In a swank hotel lounge overlooking Rittenhouse Square, the movie’s PR team has helpfully set up hors-d’oeuvre versions of the city’s delicacies, including a make-your-own-cheesesteak bar and a crab fries station, while the film’s trailer plays on loop. It also happens to be the same day on which the Philadelphia 76ers will debut their new Creed-inspired uniforms in a game where Michael B. Jordan will show up to support co-star Tessa Thompson ringing the ceremonial pre-game bell. In other words, it’s the right occasion to take one of Hollywood’s biggest young stars, and ask him a bunch of silly questions about the City of Brotherly Love, as well as the flood of female attention he receives, and why he had to do all those push-ups for Lupita Nyong’o.
A lot of things have happened in the world since the first Creed movie came out. The most important, obviously, is that the Eagles won the Super Bowl.
We came back here right before we shot the second one, right after the parade and it was crazy here. It was just mayhem. You could still feel the energy in the city — everybody from the transit bus drivers to the bartenders, to the meter maids all the way up to politicians and bigwigs.
You’re a producer on this movie. Was there anything that you wanted to include but didn’t?
I wanted him to have a best friend. I wanted to kind of create a kind of Paulie, in a sense. That didn’t end up in this one.
You’ve worked with Ryan Coogler three times. With Steven Caple Jr., it’s a little newer. What was the difference in their directing styles?
Ryan is very internal, very quiet. There’s a lot going on. There’s a lot being said without being said with me and Ryan. I think Steven was a little more vocal. It’s not a good or bad thing, just different.
In the movie, Adonis has to decide if he’s going to fight Viktor Drago, and there’s a whole question about whether he’s doing it for someone else’s reasons, or his own. Have you ever been in a position like that with a project?
For me, I’m always a giver. I’m a pleaser, you know, a fixer. I do a lot of things for other people. That’s something that just comes with me. It’s okay, it’s who I am. Obviously everyone has their own limits, but I think I’ve found a nice little balance between not spreading myself too thin and, at the same time, helping people.
Do you have an example?
Part of the mix of the Creed movies is that Adonis is this aspirational, role-model figure, but he also has to be a real, relatable guy. Are those two goals ever in conflict?
I think there’s always … we take it a scene at a time. Like in the initial moment he found out they were pregnant, I think the real is, Oh snap, I’m not ready for this. Like, “You sure you pregnant?” But then you don’t want that taken out of context, like he’s not happy or he doesn’t want it. We still wanted him to be a proud dad. You can tell by how he runs towards the responsibility. He’s really, really excited about having a kid.
Has playing a dad made you think more about that in your own future?
My own future? I love kids, man. I can’t wait to be in the right position to start a family of my own. I’m looking forward to the day that I start my own little tribe.
You’re in the Oscar conversation for Black Panther.
I think you’re on some of the lists. You’re someone who seems very intentional about the choices you make. I was wondering how important that would be for your plans?
Honestly, it’s an honor and it’s definitely humbling. It’s not in my plan. It’s not part of the … it would be cool to win, but at the same time it doesn’t motivate me to just strive for that. I just want to tell honest stories and good movies. Be successful at that. If I get put in that conversation with other talented actors and films, I’ll take that as a plus too.
For both the Creed movies and Black Panther, you have to get very big. Does that kind of thing affect the way you feel about your own body?
Right now, I feel so small, man. I’ve lost so much weight to play [real-life lawyer] Bryan Stevenson in Just Mercy. I don’t want to look the same all the time and I can’t grow a beard, so I’ve got to find different ways to switch it up. Coming off of a project like Creed II, where Adonis is un-human like, it’s so hard to walk around like that. I’m kind of like, What is my real body? I gotta buy different clothes. I go through a period of time where I’m pretty huge, and then suits don’t fit me the right way. But I prefer being in shape. I’m about to start getting back into shape.
On the Black Panther press tour Lupita got to make you do push-ups whenever she wanted. Is that still in effect?
First of all, that was my thing. I created that. Me and Joe, my barber, we started doing this thing, on-site pushups. Just a way to keep sets fun. So you can bet on anything — “What color is your cardigan?” “It’s green.” “I disagree, it’s blue”It was definitely green. — you bet five pushups, but they’re on retainer. If I lost, you could call me up whenever you wanted within a week, ‘cause they expire in a week. You can ask for however many you want: You can go all five or you can go one at a time. But the goal is to get somebody in the most embarrassing situation. So if you’re at a floor seat of a Laker game, or if it’s four o’clock in the morning and you’re in bed, then you’ve got to get out of bed and do your pushup. It’s a fun game, and I lost a bet to her.
What was the bet?
I can’t remember. Oh, actually, I do remember but I can’t talk about it. It was a bet along the lines of DMs. She made a bet about how many DMs I got of a certain type. I feel like I won, but for the sake of the game I was a good sport. To this day she still feels like I owe her one pushup. Hopefully on this next press tour I’ll be able to get her in my pocket and you’ll see her doing pushups.
Where’s the most embarrassing place you had to do them?
We’re at the Calvin Klein fashion show, Raf Simmons’s creative vision of the set was a foot of popcorn, like everywhere. We’re sitting down at the thing and she’s like, “Mike, give me one.” I’m like, “Oh snap, that’s good.” She learned. So I had to do pushups in the middle of a fashion show in a foot of popcorn.
When I told people I was interviewing you, basically every woman I talked to, including my sister, asked me if I would give you their numbers. I’m not going to do that, but I was wondering how cognizant of that type of thing are you?
I’ve become more aware of it as time goes on.
How does that make you feel?
It’s a humbling feeling, you know. I’m a pretty quiet guy, so you know, the attention is welcome. It’s all good. I appreciate it. I’ll take that position.
Do you have to worry about feeling yourself too much?
No, no. I’ve got people around me, from my family to my best friends and stuff and they all hate. They don’t care what all I’m doing. They take pride in trying to deflate me as much as possible. We heckle each other, we call bullshit, so it’s good.
There’s one more thing I wanted to do before we’re done. Because I feel like these are becoming very iconic Philadelphia movies, I wanted to get your opinion on other iconic Philadelphia figures. And if there’s one you don’t have an opinion on, we can skip. So first: Sly Stallone.
Legend. Icon. He started the Rocky franchise, he set the blueprint to boxing movies, and passed the torch to my franchise. He’s always dropping gems of wisdom.
What kind of gems?
Just anything business, in front of the camera or behind the camera. The art of selling a punch. How movie fights are supposed to go, all that good stuff. He’s always willing to tell or share.
The future of Philly. Last of a dying breed, as far as true big men, but can still come out and shoot the three, stretch the defense out. I think personality on the million. He’s so funny and entertaining. Confident to a fault sometimes, but great guy and cool dude.
Confident as well. Super talented. He’s got to work on the shot.
He’s got to take the shot.
Yeah, I know, but he’s a pass person. I love that about him. Once the defense has to respect the shot, I think that is going to make him that much greater. Future of the league, for sure.
Gritty, the Flyers mascot.
I didn’t know she was from Philly. Tina Fey is dope. I like her a lot, her personality and her sense of humor. She always makes me laugh. I just think she’s a good human.
I love Bradley Cooper. I got a chance to meet him and become cool with him over the years. Funny, multi-talented, stepping behind the camera. I can’t wait to see A Star is Born, I haven’t had a chance yet. I hear it’s phenomenal.
CREED II star Michael B. Jordan and director Steven Caple Jr. watch and react to some of the most famous boxing movies of all time, including Ali, Raging Bull, Rocky and more! CREED II is in theaters now.
MBJ and Creed II co-star Tessa Thompson gave each other a quick interview in this clip from IGN. Check out the clip, including Michael attempting to sing Eye of the Tiger (giggles) below.
MBJ recently visited Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote the release of Creed II. Check out the clips below to see Michael talking about Creed II, his photoshoot for the GQ Men of the Year issue, Thanksgiving, and more.
NPR’s Audie Cornish speaks with actor Michael B. Jordan as he bookends his year in movies with a return as boxer Adonis Johnson in the sequel Creed II.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
This year, Michael B. Jordan has clearly brought his A game. He stole the show in “Black Panther” with his charismatic turn as Erik Killmonger, the villain in a superhero movie.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “BLACK PANTHER”)
MICHAEL B. JORDAN: (As Erik Killmonger) Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships because they knew death was better than bondage.
CORNISH: And now he’s taking another swing at the box office with “Creed II.” It’s the follow-up to the “Rocky” movie franchise.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “CREED II”)
JORDAN: (As Adonis Johnson) You want to talk about smart decisions, Rock. You in this house all alone. Who been taking care of you? Me. I’ve been here for you.
CORNISH: In this film, his character, Adonis Creed, is a champion boxer with a chip on his shoulder. The son of Apollo Creed of the “Rocky” films, Adonis is trying to define his own legacy. Jordan says, at one point, he too had a chip on his shoulder but for a different reason.
JORDAN: Being named Michael Jordan – I think growing up playing sports and having a name like Michael Jordan, and I was extremely competitive, I used to get teased a lot. But it made me want to strive for greatness and be able to compete at whatever I decided to do. So…
CORNISH: That seems like a good kind of teasing, though. Like, how did it play in a way that made you feel uncomfortable?
JORDAN: I mean, I wanted to change my name, at one point.
CORNISH: Oh, really?
JORDAN: I mean, kids are brutal. You know, I think – you know, it seems like the world is crashing down around you when you were – you know, when you’re 11 years old or 12 years old and you’re getting, like – you know, you’re teased about your name. Like, I didn’t develop that self-confidence just yet.
CORNISH: He’s since made up for it. He goes by Michael B Jordan. The B is for Bakari, and he’s no longer content with just mastering the world of acting. The 31-year-old has been working in the industry since he was a preteen, appearing in everything from “All My Children” to “The Wire” and “Friday Night Lights.” Now he has his own production company, Outlier Society Productions. I asked him what is his ultimate goal – mogul, movie star, what?
JORDAN: Oh, man – world domination.
CORNISH: Yeah, I believe it. That’s why I’m asking (laughter).
JORDAN: Yeah, it’s something like that. I never use my age as a handicap, you know? It’s like, oh, you’re too young to do this or, you know, you haven’t had enough experience to do that. And, you know, I did “Friday Night Lights” and I got a chance to really spend a lot of time with the producers and directors and the showrunner and just learning the inner workings of a show, you know, the production, how to put things together. And once I saw the formula, I was like, oh, I could do that.
And then I just started spending time with friends that were like-minded and believed in the same thing. And we just started to develop things. I started to accumulate IP, whether it’d be a newspaper article or a graphic novel or a book or something. You know, I was always just acquiring things, waiting for the moment of somebody to ask me, well, what do you want to do next? And like, oh, wow…
CORNISH: And this is intellectual property that – meaning that the source of story ideas that people use for movies.
JORDAN: Oh, I’m sorry.
CORNISH: No, now we’re getting into the real good stuff because you’re speaking your natural language, which is business.
JORDAN: Yeah. It’s a question I always ask myself. You know, growing up into this industry, auditioning for projects when I was younger and always seeing the usual suspects, we almost felt like we were pitted against each other like it was a competition when it shouldn’t be…
CORNISH: Meaning you’d see the same actors over and over, and you guys are competing for, you know, troubled teen three.
JORDAN: For one role – exactly – for the same role. And then, you know, if you’re booking, then you’re becoming successful, but everybody else is looking at you like, oh, man. Like, you’re taking, you know, almost food out my mouth, and it shouldn’t be like that, you know? It’s because there’s a lack of roles. There’s just not enough out there. So I’ve always had the notion of create the roles, you know, not the stereotypical roles. You know, I told my agency at a younger age earlier in my career, like, I only wanted to go out for roles that were written for Caucasian males because I knew the roles had no bias on it. It was just…
CORNISH: But how’d that go? When you showed up to the room, was the casting agent doing a double take or what was the deal?
JORDAN: No, it was so welcomed, you know. It was almost like some people I think were almost shocked that I was taking that position. My agency always kind of backed me and believed in what I was doing and knew and understood the strategy behind it. You know, I’ve been extremely blessed. Man, it’s – everything that I’ve ever wanted has happened. And I know it’s not usually like that, so I understand, you know, the fortunate position that I’m in.
CORNISH: I – one other thing I want to ask about. You announced last year that you would adopt inclusion riders on your projects. And people may have heard about this from Frances McDormand, the actress who gave this really impassioned speech at the Academy Awards where she talked about this idea that you can put a clause in your contract that says there needs to be diversity in hiring on the project that I am in. I don’t know if other people answered the call, but for you as someone who owns a production company, what’s been the reality of trying to make that happen?
JORDAN: People have been very receptive. I think taking the moment that I have and the heat that I’m generating right now in demanding things – and that’s the confidence that – it’s new, you know, in the last year or so. But, yeah, you know, my first project, you know, under the inclusion rider was “Just Mercy,” the story of Bryan Stevenson. I just got finished filming in Atlanta. And it looked and felt like a set that I’ve always wanted to have, you know, before there was an inclusion rider.
Like, that would have been second nature for me. I would have hired women. I would’ve hired, you know, people with disabilities. I would’ve hired people of color. As a black man, that’s not something that we needed to have on paper. And being able to partner up with Warner Brothers media and help work and build that policy for them is a major deal for me. You know, it’s part of entertainment history. You know, to have that so early in my career, so early in my life is a big deal for me.
CORNISH: I grew up like you around the same period, ’80s and ’90s, and I feel like I grew up with the hip-hop mogul. And this is probably the first time I’ve heard of an actor really thinking in that same way.
JORDAN: That’s powerful.
CORNISH: You know what I mean?
JORDAN: No, I know exactly what you’re saying.
CORNISH: Like, those guys were like, we need to own our content. We need to own our thing. We need to control whatever aspects of it we can control. But you didn’t really hear that that much in acting because there was always just, like, one guy who was the famous black guy at any given time.
JORDAN: Well because there – we’re still very much so the minority, you know? I think with music, we dictate culture. I think with sports, we dictate culture. I think with film and television, we’re still defining ourselves. We still have, you know, getting out of thinking of a black cinema, black films – no, film. You know what I’m saying? Like, I’m trying to get to the point where it’s the norm. We don’t have to classify it as just black this, black that. You don’t hear anybody saying white film. And I’m just taking the steps that I see that I feel like are the right moves in order to get there. It may not happen in my lifetime and I’m cool with that because I’m working on a blueprint, a foundation. That’s what legacy is about. You’re defined by who you put on, what opportunities have you given to somebody else. Because I’m not going to be in every movie. I’m not that guy. I enjoy putting other people on. I enjoy creating roles and opportunities for people. Like, that’s just my thing.
I look at the first to do things, you know, and I see what went wrong. What did they do? What was the approach? What was the social climate like? What other things are happening on in the world that allowed that to happen that supported that change? And what are things – what was the pushback? What was the resistance around that change? And I try to tweak it as much as I can. That’s probably why I don’t sleep. I have all these…
JORDAN: I’m always…
CORNISH: I believe that. I can picture you lying in bed saying all of these things plotting world domination.
JORDAN: Because I’m willing to sacrifice right now. I told myself that my 20s would be sacrificed for work and the 30s I was going to chill out, but I was like no. I still got things to do. I can’t let up off the gas.
CORNISH: Well, Michael B. Jordan, this was fascinating conversation. Thank you so much for speaking with us.
JORDAN: Oh, very smart questions. I love your conversation – any time.
CORNISH: Michael B. Jordan – his new film, “Creed II,” opens today.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “THE FIRE”)
THE ROOTS: (Singing) There’s something in your heart, and it’s in your eyes. It’s the fire inside you.
It was a much-needed family reunion for “Creed II” star Michael B. Jordan, who reprises his role in the film as heavyweight champion Adonis Creed.
In fact, Jordan told ABC News, bringing the gang back together again was one of the most rewarding aspects of making the sequel.
“I mean, the best part of the film — honestly — is getting back together with everybody,” he said. “It’s the first time I ever had a chance to do a sequel to any movie that I’ve done. So to be able to get back into Adonis and build those relationships again with Bianca, and Rocky, and start my own family — I thought was a lot of fun.”
While reuniting with Tessa Thompson and Sylvester Stallone was a welcomed part of returning to set, Jordan admits getting into “heavyweight champion” shape was not.
Thankfully, Jordan says this time around, it wasn’t as brutal.
“It was a little easier,” he said. “I knew what to expect this time around. I think, training in general has its ups and downs and its hard moments, but yeah… I kind of knew what to expect.”
Still, with new films comes new challenges. Jordan said his struggle this time around was making a project that would be as noteworthy as the first.
“I’m trying to keep things fresh,” Jordan said. “You want to raise the stakes and do something different. You know there’s been a few boxing movies in the past, so they try to keep things fresh and new and bring a new story line to the table with something a little challenging.”
Fortunately for fans, Jordan feels confident that he and his team have done just that.
“But, I think we found a good balance,” he added.
“Creed II” hits theaters today.
Source: ABC News
Michael B. Jordan has become a critically acclaimed leading man, with star-making performances in movies like “Fruitvale Station,” “Creed” and as the villain in “Black Panther” – the highest-grossing superhero film ever in the U.S.
In his new movie, “Creed II,” the 31-year-old actor reprises the role of boxer, Adonis Creed, in the spin-off of the classic Rocky franchise. Jordan sat down with “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King to discuss his career and how he’s blurred the line between reality and fantasy for his latest role.
“My dad used to, you know, take me to boxing matches and I used to watch ’em, you know, all the time at home. I never imagined, I could never dream at the time that I would be playing a boxer,” Jordan said. “I like living like a fighter, training like a fighter. You know, I tell everybody on set – and they know this by now but, ‘Don’t treat me like an actor. Treat me like a fighter.’ I’ve broken my hand a few times doing this movie. Hands swollen. Like, I wanna feel it. I want to go home and ache.”
Jordan shares the screen in both “Creed” and “Creed II” with Sylvester Stallone, who starred in the original franchise as Rocky Balboa and has now turned to training younger fighters like Adonis.
“Sly is a special guy….He has so many stories to tell and he’s like your uncle. When he gets on set he’s telling you about stories of back when he did it or, you know, what’s changed….he’s always giving little gems of wisdom whenever he can. So I’m like a sponge. I just soak it all up,” Jordan said of his relationship with Stallone.
Jordan, who is also a producer on “Creed II,” got his start in the critically acclaimed HBO series, “The Wire.” He played 16-year-old drug dealer Wallace, who is killed in the midst of a heated drug war.
“I just remember crying on set ’cause I was like, ‘You know, I can’t go back and work with you guys. I got to go back to school.’ You know, and I was like, ‘I’ll never work again.’ And everybody was like, ‘Look Mike, you’re gonna be fine. You’re gonna be great.’ All the older actors man took me under their wing and said if you really want this to be a career, you can do that,” Jordan said.
That career reached new heights with this year’s “Black Panther,” which crushed the box office and became a cultural phenomenon. Jordan said he wasn’t surprised at all by the film’s success.
“I think I knew it would make an impact because of the cast. The story,” Jordan said. “Everybody from all walks of life is really connected with this project and they felt a sense of pride, sense of identity, sense of being, of owning where you come from and I think that was really, really important.”
“Black Panther” marked Jordan’s third time working with director Ryan Coogler. Jordan has starred in all three of his films.
“He is a genius. You know, and I don’t say that loosely…. looking at this brother direct, I’m like, ‘Wow. Can I do that?’ You know, I never knew that I could do that. Somebody my age that looks like me from a similar place, a similar family backgrounds. I never knew that that was an option for me like that in that way….with Ryan, you know, our relationship we just became brothers. We call and vent, you know, when we’re going through some of the things when we’re stressing out.”
Despite his bona fide success, Jordan still doubts himself sometimes.
“I just never want to get drunk off my own hype. You know, I always kind of treat things as if they all go away. You know, everything can stop. You know, maybe ’cause I’m not comfortable yet. No. I mean I’m comfortable, but I’m not comfortable. I just know there’s a lot to do. And I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’m completely comfortable.”
To hear how success has changed his dating life, watch the video in the player above.
Source: CBS This Morning
If you consider Michael B. Jordan’s physique a statuesque work of art, Corey Calliet is the genius sculptor behind the masterpiece.
Celebrity trainer Calliet is the artist who has made Jordan’s pectorals ripple just so, veins pop just a bit, deltoids round just enough, to appear, as Calliet describes, “more aesthetically pleasing” than ever before.
“Michael didn’t have muscles when we met, so I’ve been watching it grow,” Calliet says as we prepare to work out together at MusclePharm gym. “As his career grew, his muscles grew. So that’s what I’ve been doing the whole time.”
What, exactly, does Calliet’s craftmanship entail? That’s what we find out in a training session ahead of “Creed II” (in theaters Wednesday), the sequel to the 2015 “Rocky” spinoff, which shows off a body even more ripped than the one Calliet engineered for “Black Panther” and the first “Creed.”
Here’s what we learned:
Jordan trained six or seven days a week.
For “Creed II,” that meant Jordan trained for four months before the start of filming, then continued to work out four to nine hours a day, spaced throughout his day. Calliet says the hardest part was keeping Jordan in top condition for several days of filming.
“Bodybuilders, we work six to eight months for about three minutes (of competition). He kept the condition for 21 days,” Calliet says.
“What I did was, I just took a body that was already big and just made him, honestly, bigger.”
He ate a half-dozen protein-rich meals a day.
Jordan typically started his day with “turkey bacon, maybe egg whites and potatoes, in a bowl,” Calliet says. “For some reason, he likes stuff in a bowl. … I don’t know, that’s just his thing.”
Two hours later, Jordan would eat more protein: chicken and/or steak and fish.
In addition to those meals, Jordan ate four or five more times throughout the day, combining protein, cups of vegetables, and fats such as avocado and nuts. “It all depended on how the body was,” Calliet says.
A typical workout involved weights, plyometrics, ab work and agony.
I do an abridged version of Jordan’s workout, which starts out gentle and then picks up after Calliet determines I’m stronger than I look. (I take that as a compliment.)
After taking me through a rowing machine, mountain climbers, tricep dips and bicep curls, it’s time for “the hardest thing you do the whole time,” as Calliet describes the sled. “If your trainer gets this, run very fast away.”
With the warning that even Jordan despises pushing the sled – a device that looks like a dog sled with two handles and a place to add weight – I sprint all out with the thing around a cone. And proceed to see stars.
Once I recover, there’s more to do: bicep curls, jump squats, leg lifts, barbell squats, walking push-ups and a multitude of ab exercises he promises are the last one.
“You know, trainers can’t count,” Calliet teases. “We failed at math.”
Jordan’s cheat meal: Whataburger.
“I think cheat meals are great,” Calliet says. “When you’re eating clean so long, the body’s going to plateau. Give yourself something you deserve. It speeds your metabolism – it spikes it.”
Jordan’s cheat meal of choice is Whataburger. “He may get a double cheeseburger, something with bacon. He wants a piece of everything,” Calliet says. “He’s a foodie; he loves to eat. And when you say eat, he eats a lot.”
There were daily shirtless assessments.
Part of Calliet’s job involves taking a close, daily look at Jordan’s naked torso.
“Literally, every morning, I’m like, ‘Take your shirt off,’ ” Calliet says. “I’m (seeing if) his shoulders get wide, I’m looking at the thinness of his skin (the thinner the better, to emphasize his muscles and veins), I’m looking at how his back tightens up. I’m trying to see where I see a flaw so I can fix it.”
Source: USA Today
Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu, and director Steven Caple Jr. join Fandango correspondent Jacqueline Coley to discuss selling a realistic romance on screen, the challenge of learning to speak Russian with a convincing accent, and how much the theme of fatherhood ties in to ‘Creed II’.