BLACK PANTHER star Michael B. Jordan discusses the film after a special screening at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Pictures in Hollywood on Thursday, December 6, 2018.
BLACK PANTHER star Michael B. Jordan discusses the film after a special screening at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Pictures in Hollywood on Thursday, December 6, 2018.
The boxing gym in Lambeth is run by Black Prince Trust, which offers first-class sports and education facilities to the local community and schools. One of its key partners is Fight 4 Change – an initiative which provides boxing, martial arts and fitness training to support, mentor and progress marginalised young people and those at risk of offending in deprived communities.
He’s the star of Creed II and hot property in Hollywood, but the uber-talented Michael B Jordan is taking it all in his stride. Here, he talks fighting, fame and films with Gemma Dunn
WHEN Sylvester Stallone revealed his plans to retire Rocky Balboa as Creed II opened recently, fans of the franchise were left saddened. The veteran actor, who has played the world’s most celebrated fictional boxer since 1976, dropped the bombshell via Instagram, where he told his eight million followers: “It’s been my ultimate privilege to have been able to create and play this meaningful character.”
“Though it breaks my heart, sadly all things must pass… and end,” added the 72-year-old, alongside a video of the speech he gave to his Creed II co-stars.
Suggesting his appearance in the blockbuster reboot will be his last, Stallone has insisted his lead, Michael B Jordan, will now “carry the mantle”. And it seems the 31-year-old star is suitably flattered.
“It’s an honour, honestly,” says Jordan, who put in a knockout performance as boxer Adonis Creed in the original Rocky spin-off and returns to the title role in Creed II, now showing in cinemas across Ireland.
“I know what that character and that franchise means to him – and for him to see that same potential inside of me, I think it’s a big deal.
“I didn’t expect him to say that and he did, so it caught me off guard. But it feels special; it’s something I take seriously. He knows that I’m gonna do him justice.”
If the Californian’s previous efforts are anything to go by, there’s no doubt he will. Hot on the heels of Creed’s success in 2016, Creed II, this time directed by Steven Caple Jr, sees Jordan take on the next chapter of the Adonis Creed story, which follows the young boxer’s life inside and outside of the ring as he deals with newfound fame, family, his father’s legacy, and his continuing quest to become a champion.
But to defend his acquired world title, Creed must fight a worthy opponent. Hence the introduction of Viktor Drago: a young, undefeated heavyweight contender, played by real-life sports enthusiast Florian ‘Big Nasty’ Munteanu.
He’s the son of Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren), the Russian boxer who killed Adonis’s father Apollo in the ring three decades earlier. Deciding he has a score to settle, Adonis prepares, with the help of trainer, Rocky, for a showdown.
“I think Adonis has felt like an underdog ever since he became champion,” says Jordan of his character. “I don’t think he ever felt like a champ. He never felt like he was the sure-win, which is an interesting thing to play. “He’s always felt like he has something to prove.
“And out of nowhere, this blast from the past arrives which forces Adonis to go down a dark road, to really reflect on and figure out why he fights,” adds Jordan, who earlier this year received critical acclaim for his portrayal of villain Erik Killmonger in Marvel’s Black Panther.
“This film shows that sometimes you have to go through darkness and the fire to realise what’s important.”
But to get back in the ring, full stop, was going to take some serious training, especially if Jordan was to square up opposite newbie Munteanu – a 6’4″ Romanian-born, German-raised boxer by trade.
“For the first [film], there’s no way I could imagine what I was going to be doing – the second time around, it was worse,” he confesses, with a laugh.
“I have to believe when I was stepping into the ring, I am a fighter. I would work out to exhaustion day in and day out, sometimes twice a day, going home with swollen knuckles and all.”
Jordan adds: “A boxer has a certain look and has to make a certain weight. To get in shape for this one, we definitely amped up the cardio along with the boxing, which itself is an amazing workout, two times a day, every day for six weeks.”
But fitness aside, the high-action fight scenes still resulted in a number of hospital visits – on both sides. Not that it left Jordan deterred.
“It’s a badge of honour, honestly,” he says, smiling. “We’re making an action film and if you’re not getting hurt, then you ain’t trying hard enough. So I feel like it just means that we were putting it all on the line for the perfect shot. For the perfect scene.”
Has he had any pinch-yourself moments, given the success the Creed role has earned him?
“I think the first time I finished the fight scenes, in the first movie, was a pinch-myself moment of like, ‘Oh, we did that’. Especially working with director Ryan [Coogler],” he says.
“That was our second film we’ve done together [the pair previously collaborated on Fruitvale Station and have since joined forces for Black Panther] and I felt like, ‘We did it again’. It was such an accomplishment.”
The fact he served as an executive producer on Creed II also left him feeling “more conscious” of his involvement, he says.
“I’ve always been producing or always trying to add to the story or character of the film in some type of way. I’m a team player, so I just want, as a whole, for the movie to do well.
“For me, you’ve got to do it one movie at a time, one scene at a time, and just try to do your best. Give it your all, every day. And at the end of it, if you’ve got something great, then people are going to let you know.”
As for the fame, Jordan, who is in high demand in Hollywood, is taking it in his stride.
“I’m the same guy, I’m not changing,” he says. “It’s an adjustment when you have your privacy taken away but that’s what comes with it.
“I love my fans, I love the love that I get for what I do, so I just try to reciprocate it as much as possible. You’ve got to throw your energy back out into the universe and it will send it back to you.”
Source: The Irish News
Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson completed a mad lib of the official Creed II synopsis. We turned that mad lib into a movie trailer.
We already knew that the upcoming animated sci-fi show gen:LOCK will sound good, thanks to a voice cast which includes Michael B. Jordan, Maisie Williams, Dakota Fanning, David Tennant, and Asia Kate Dillon. Now, some just-released footage gives us a taste of the show’s action, which premieres on Rooster Teeth, Jan. 26, 2019.
gen:LOCK is about a team of young pilots tasked with controlling the next generation of giant, weaponized robot bodies known as mecha. The show costars Kōichi Yamadera, Lindsay Jones, Miles Luna, Chad James, Blaine Gibson, Gray G. Haddock, Monica Rial, and Golshifteh Farahani.
Check out the new footage above.
Since its February release, “Black Panther” has become a global phenomenon, but star Michael B. Jordan (who played villain Erik Killmonger) says he didn’t foresee just how big of a cultural impact the film would make.
“It was truly incredible. While we were making it, you didn’t really realize it. And then in hindsight, it’s like, ‘Yeah, we kind of did that,” Jordan tells Charlize Theron during Variety’s Actors on Actors series.
He says “the memes and the social media element” that “Black Panther” inspired helped him see that the film had resonated with the current generation. He also says he saw plenty of little Killmongers “with the permanent marker beards” and young girls dressed up as Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s all-female special forces in the movie.
But Jordan says what was most meaningful was seeing communities rally to support the film. Church groups, community centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, and organizations helping at-risk youth all rallied to host “Black Panther” screenings. Critics and audiences alike applauded the film for black representation and its homages to different African cultures, like the Maasai in Kenya and the Zulu from South Africa.
“Seeing the journalists come in the traditional garbs, and hearing stories about how this movie encouraged them to get back in contact with their roots and where they come from,” Jordan says, “it gave everybody a sense of pride. And I was like, ‘Wow, this movie is global.’”
Jordan, who most recently starred in “Creed II,” also says anybody can relate to “Black Panther,” regardless of their background.
“It’s not just the African experience. That’s what it’s framed in, but it gives everybody else access to that same type of self-discovery,” he says. “And that’s when I really started to realize the impact that it was going to have.”
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.
The actor is using commercial projects to hone his directorial skills.
For 18 seconds, the new Bacardi spot looks like a pretty standard booze ad.
Then “The Myth of the Sun Angels” sets itself apart when the director credits flash onscreen, revealing, “A film by Michael B. Jordan & Paul Hunter.”
Paul Hunter is a renowned music video director and cofounder of the commercial production company Prettybird. The other guy you might know from small flicks like Black Panther and Creed.
The campaign launches Bacardi’s new premium rum collection, and Jordan, in an exclusive conversation with Fast Company, says the project came about through a relationship with Bacardi that started last year when he attended No Commission, the brand’s art platform created with Swizz Beatz and The Dean Collection in Miami.
“Many people don’t know this, but [Jordan is] actually a self-professed ‘Rum Guy,’” says Roberto Ramirez Laverde, VP of Bacardi North America. “In fact, he helped open the new Lower East Side rum bar, Las’ Lap. When it came time to produce the first ad campaign for our premium collection, we knew he was the perfect person to get behind the camera to tell our story.”
As a recent Vanity Fair cover story pointed out, Jordan has multimillion-dollar endorsement deals, his own production company, and a new marketing and consulting startup in the works. So he considers this Bacardi ad another form of on-the-job training. Shorter projects like this, with tighter production time, allow directors to try things without the weight of all the bureaucratic machinery surrounding a feature film.
“It allows you to try new shots, take some creative and technical risks, that can teach you things that you can then apply to longer-form content,” says Jordan, whose feature debut, The Stars Beneath Our Feet, is in development. “For me, we used a lot of crane shots, which was something I learned a lot about in this process, just controlling a crane and a jib. It’s a lot more going on than just being the actor in front of the camera. Positioning, movement, blocking, timing, and continuity that was crucial to some shots. So I had a chance to get some at-bats with all of this, to take a few swings at, so it was fun.”
Another big lesson was honing his ability to make adjustments in real time. “Being able to get in there, move stuff around, give notes, in the moment was something I found really useful and paid a lot of attention to this time around,” says Jordan.
While he doesn’t appear in front of the camera in your standard, hold-the-bottle-and-smile spokesperson role, make no mistake, this is a celebrity ad. It’s just that Bacardi is getting creative in how it enlists its creative spokespeople. For Jordan, the quid pro quo is the opportunity to flex some creative muscle behind the camera to create something he hopes transcends being just another ad.
“Brands are getting more creative because they are working with a more diverse set of directors, artists, and creative collaborators,” says Jordan. “I think that’s really smart. You don’t want people to feel like they’re being sold to. If you can be creative, and make it feel natural, that’s an advantage. You don’t want to insult the people you’re trying to market to. You need to be smart with it.”
In October, Jonah Hill was on the Bill Simmons podcast (a pod Jordan has appeared on multiple times), and they were talking about the idea of directors and actors doing commercials becoming more common. Hill said he’d rather see an artist use commercials to fuel their art, than not do commercials, and then take on mediocre projects for the money. Hill said, “I’d rather see Damien Chazelle make a Samsung commercial and then be able to make his art than see him direct Fast & Furious 11.” Jordan agrees. “It’s getting harder and harder to make films, and it seems like there are opportunities to take more creative risks in other places, rather than trying to put it all in a feature [film],” he says. “I do agree with that, as a director, to be able to do some commercials, rather than take on mediocre projects that don’t hit as hard.”
Source: Fast Company
Michael B Jordan is a one-man machine. Following up from his star turn as Rocky’s protégé in Creed, the series is back with a knock-out sequel. There are more intense AF boxing scenes that could double up as action sequences and luckily, so many flashes of Michael’s body, we advise you take a fan to the cinema with you.
Here, he joins GLAMOUR’s Joshington Hosts to discuss why after the events of 2018, we need to see this fragile representation of masculinity, sexist questioning and whether he can grate cheese on his abs. Yes, really.
Creed II shows the fragility of masculinity behind the power of the muscles. Why do you think we needed this representation of masculinity, especially in 2018?
It’s super important to show layers and show you can be physical, masculine and at the same time be vulnerable and emotional as well. Adonis is very vulnerable and emotional person. He’s selfish for some of this film but with understanding and by becoming a father alongside the other obstacles that are thrown his way, he’s allowed to grow.
Speaking with your co-star Tessa Thompson, we discussed how everyone will ask her what it’s like to play a ‘well-rounded’ girlfriend role, but no one will ask you, as a man, what it’s like to play a ‘well-rounded’ boyfriend. So, what is it like?
Damn, Tessa is heckling me even when she isn’t here! She’s impressive! It feels good – it feels great!
The Creed franchise deals with failure and success – what has this film taught you personally about failure?
You have got to try, and you have to take risks. I never really feel phased as you are always learning something and learning what you can take away from what you are doing. I feel Adonis has had his fair share of failure in this movie, which makes for a greater come back.
What’s the most extreme excuse you have used to skip the gym?
Oh, man! Maybe some stomach problems or something, I have kind of gone there. My trainer, Corey Calliet, is that kind of guy who will just come into my room and snatch me out of bed and be like, ‘what are you doing? Get out of bed!’ He can call me out!
Your body is so rock hard – can you crack an egg on it or grate cheese with your abs?
Ha! I am not sure. I haven’t thought about it like that but good question!
Rocky serves up cracking pep talk, but what is the ultimate Michael B Jordan pep talk?
If you believe in the things you want to achieve, you can do it. You have got to focus, work hard, dedicate to the cause and you will be successful. Do you feel motivated?
What would a Michael B Jordan Barry’s Boot Camp-inspired workout class be like?
It would be stages. In order to go to the next level, you would have to complete another because you can’t just throw someone into the deep end. You want to give them small successes to build up to the larger success story. We would be lifting weights, some cardio, maybe some swimming – mixing things up and keeping them fresh!
Creed makes the ultimate entrances – what are you tips for making the ultimate entrance?
Everyone needs their own theme music! That’s one way to get things started as everyone will hear you before they see you. So, when you walk in, the table is already set, and they’re in the mood. You have got to believe yourself.
What happened after Chrissy Teigen revealed you have hooked up via your Instagram direct messages? Is ‘you are a knockout’ too cheesy for an intro?
Yes! And My Instagram broke after that!
Your confidence should be bottled and sold in fragrance format! What would you call it and how would you pitch it?
I would call it ‘Ooze’! Ooze yeah! I don’t know what the packaging would be but just Ooze!
Watch out, Glo by JLO! Michael B Jordan is coming for your fragrance and Creed II is in cinemas now.
Source: Glamour UK
Stars! They’re just like us. While I don’t possess the same rippling abdominal muscles as Michael B. Jordan, he and I do share a passion for anime. It’s no small secret that Jordan is a lowkey otaku. Over the years, he has publicly geeked out about fan-favorite shows like Bleach, Naruto, and Dragon Ball Z. Buy his fandom goes even deeper than you might expect. It’s something that I discovered firsthand when I traveled to Philadelphia to interview the actor about Creed II, in which he reprises his role as boxing phenom and Rocky Balboa disciple Adonis Creed.
Fun fact: there is a massive subset of anime that focuses entirely on sports and a surprising amount of it is specifically about boxing. Knowing that Jordan is an anime fan, I couldn’t help but ask him to tell us all about his favorite boxing anime, and he did not disappoint with his selection: Hajime no Ippo.
Created as a manga by George Morikawa in 1989, Hajime no Ippo (or “The First Step”) is the story of Ippo Makunouchi, a shy high school student who was constantly bullied by his peers. One day, after taking the beating of a lifetime, Ippo was saved by a professional boxer who just so happened to be passing by. After dusting off young Ippo, the boxer took him to his training gym where they quickly discovered that Ippo had a real knack for boxing. What follows is a thrilling, fist-pumping story about a young man coming into his own as he embarks on a career in professional boxing.
In the year 2000, Hajime no Ippo was adapted into a 76 episode anime series and there have been several sequel series and original animated video follow-ups too. The series is notable for its epic fight scenes, extensive and seemingly interminable inner monologues that happen mid-fight, and Ippo’s signature move, the Dempsey Roll. As someone who spent a summer in high school bingeing the ever-loving heck out of this series, I can assure you that it straight-up rules. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to Michael B. Jordan in the video above and let him tell you exactly why you need this boxing anime in your corner.