Michael B. Jordan is stepping behind the lens as part of a new short film collaboration with Bacardi. The “Creed 2” actor teamed up with the premium rum brand for “The Angels’ Share,” a sweeping, cinematic short film that serves as the official campaign forBacardi new Premium Collection.
Jordan shot the film last month, just before he hit the road on his promotional tour for “Creed 2.” The actor is the first-ever celebrity tapped by Bacardi to direct one of their campaigns, and Roberto Ramirez Laverde, VP of Bacardi North America, says Jordan’s impeccable taste and appreciation for family values, made him a natural fit for the collaboration. “Bacardi is a family owned rum brand,” says Ramirez Laverde, “and it was a natural fit to work with Michael — a man who values family above all else and has a true affinity for rum. Since he’s worked both behind and in front of the camera, he brought an added level of professionalism and expertise.”
Conceptualized by Jordan and co-director Paul Hunter, the film follows several characters who each tell their own version of the “angel’s share” myth — referring to the liquid that is lost to evaporation while the rum ages in barrels. SinceBacardi ages its premium rums under the Caribbean sun, the brand says more “angel’s share” is lost than other spirits. That became the inspiration behind the new film and campaign.
Here, Jordan discusses about how he got involved with the project, why it’s sparked his interest in directing, and how the self-professed “rum guy” likes to take his drink.
How did you first get connected with Bacardi?
Honestly, the first time me and Bacardi linked up was during their “No Commission” event (a three-day art and music showcase) in Miami last year. I got to know the brand, the people involved and I saw what they were doing in terms of encouraging young artists and creatives in the art space, and that really appealed to me. From there, we started building a bond and relationship.
What were your initial thoughts about taking on this project, especially for a brand that’s not your own?
Anything I do has to be cinematic and creative, so I had to make sure we were all on the same page. But I was also really excited to be working alongside one of my mentors, (co-director) Paul Hunter, and his production company, Prettybird.
In terms of working with Bacardi, I actually have a long history with rum. My grandmother used to cook with Bacardi Gold and used to make rum cake all the time, especially around this time of year. It was a big thing for the holidays, and she had a homemade recipe that was epic. One of the things about rum too, is that it withstands the test of time; it’s timeless, and those are the things I care about.
What was the shoot process like?
We shot the film in the Caribbean and we had a great time shooting it. We were able to use a lot of local hires on the project, which was great, because it made it a very collaborative environment. My schedule’s been super crazy this year, but we starting building the creative months ago, squeezed the shoot in, and I’m really proud of it — I think we got something really nice.
Tell us about the concept behind the campaign.
Well for starters, we didn’t want to go the comedy route. This commercial shows the journey of rum and how it travels from the barrel to the community, getting back to the heart and foundation of where the Bacardi brand started. They’re patient, they take time in developing the aging process. They’re willing to wait and sacrifice rum for a quality product. Just the fact that a brand is willing to sacrifice their own product to make it better says a lot about what they stand behind, and I really connected with that.
What was it like stepping behind the camera? Was directing something you’ve always been interested in?
I’m starting to find myself more comfortable behind the camera. I’m so lucky that I’m being afforded opportunities and able to put my fingerprints on something not just in front of the camera. I value things like family, history and heritage, so these are the types of projects I want to be working on. But it was also great to work with Paul Hunter. He’s a strong, smart, black business owner and from the first time I met him, we’ve just connected. He’s somebody I wanted to reach out to and express my fandom to, and I really look up to him. When we were on set, I become a sponge and just started learning.
You’ve said that you are a rum fan. What’s your drink of choice?
Well that depends on where I’m at and what I’m doing. I guess I’d say a rum and coke, because you can’t really go wrong with it. Or rum and ginger ale. Sometimes I like to sip it neat, or on the rocks with one really big ice cube. And then I occasionally like a nice little rum punch if I’m on an island or sitting on a beach somewhere. It’s a very versatile spirit, and I guess I’m kind of like that too.