Press/Video: Michael B. Jordan Says ‘Black Panther’ Gave ‘Everybody a Sense of Pride’

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.”

Source: Variety

Press/Video: Michael B. Jordan Sets New Directorial Project With Bacardi

Press/Video: Michael B. Jordan Sets New Directorial Project With Bacardi

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.

Source: Variety

Press/Video: Exclusive: Why Michael B. Jordan directed the new Bacardi commercial

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

Press/Video: Here’s how NOT to slide into Michael B Jordan’s DMs…

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

Press/Video: CREED II’s Michael B. Jordan Reveals His Favorite Boxing Anime

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.

Press: How Michael B Jordan fought his way to the top of Hollywood

Press: How Michael B Jordan fought his way to the top of Hollywood

There’s something serendipitous about Michael B Jordan ending 2018 with another smash hit. After an Oscar-buzzed role in Marvel’s Black Panther, he’s now headlining Creed II, a sequel that’s over-performing at the box office – and at the same time, the industry is expanding to give more chances to other black actors than ever before.

Alongside John Boyega, Daniel Kaluuya, Stephan James and Jovan Adepo, Jordan is one of an increasing group of stars who are finally being given major roles in blockbuster projects. But is this modern “black renaissance” the cause of his rise to leading man status, or was Jordan destined for greatness regardless?

The 31-year-old has been in the business for about 20 years, since first appearing in commercials as a child. This year alone provides proof that he’s graduated to a leading man, after impressing in The Wire and in 2013’s fact-based indie Fruitvale Station.

He stumbled in 2015’s poorly received Fantastic Four reboot, but then Jordan found hitherto unseen success as the supervillain Killmonger in Black Panther earlier this year. Reuniting him with his Fruitvale Station and Creed director Ryan Coogler, Jordan delivered an intensely complex, fascinatingly relatable bad guy, praised by fans and critics alike. Abandoned by his wealthy Wakandan family, Killmonger grew up fatherless, alone and impoverished with a surging rage for his predicament.

Jordan’s performance embodied black pain in a way that felt horribly relevant in Donald Trump’s increasingly divided America. But despite praise, Jordan’s immersion in the role took its toll. He poured so much of himself into the villain that the end of production was reportedly followed by a stint in therapy. “Once I got finished wrapping the movie, it took me some time to talk through how I was feeling and why I was feeling so sad and, like, a little bit depressed,” he shared on The Bill Simmons Podcast. Sessions with a therapist helped him move on just in time to prepare for his next project.

But the critical and commercial success of $1.3bn mega-hit Black Panther didn’t bleed into his second film of the year, HBO’s adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Jordan starred as a dystopian fireman, trained to set fire to “contraband media”, but while the plot might have felt prescient, and despite a formidable co-star in the shape of Michael Shannon, the film premiered at Cannes to lukewarm reviews. Jordan was too busy to notice, however, since he was in the middle of another grueling production.

In 2015, he’d scored a win with his induction into the Rocky franchise; Coogler’s rousing reboot Creed, a franchise he returned to this year. Creed II is already a major hit, outperforming expectations with $62m in its first week and scoring strong reviews. The saga chronicles a boxing underdog with a champion name – Adonis Creed – who is fighting his way to recognition, independent of a legacy that seemed to die with his father. In the sequel, Adonis must face the son of the man who murdered him. The journey he takes resembles Jordan’s own struggle to legitimate leading man status in a traditionally restrictive industry for actors of color. It’s no wonder that the actor plays the boxer so well. There’s also that name …

“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,” he said to NPR’s Audie Cornish last month. “But it made me want to strive for greatness and be able to compete at whatever I decided to do.”

Toughness on screen has also been offset by an undeniably grounded charm off it: Jordan has achieved virality on more than one occasion this year. In March, Jordan offered to pay for a replacement retainer for a fan who broke hers from excitement over seeing him shirtless in Black Panther. Two months later, he was riding high on Twitter again after it was revealed he’d met a fan who contacted him via Instagram. Just this week, he’s been at it again – cannily meeting a fan who had previously gone viral by Photoshopping the pair together.

There’s also something else that drives Jordan: the need to prove himself outside of restrictions tied to his race. In an interview for Variety’s Actors on Actors series, Jordan revealed to Insecure’s Issa Rae that he seeks out roles written for white actors. Roles written for black characters, he reasoned, were filled with the writer’s preconceived notions of what his character was supposed to be.

“I’m first and foremost a black man, for sure, but what I’m trying to do, and what I’m trying to represent and build, is universal,” he said in a Vanity Fair profile in October. “We live in the times where everything is based around race, and for me, it’s like, I get it, I understand. It just makes everything so loaded.”

In March, Jordan made waves by announcing that his production company Outlier Society would adopt an inclusion rider for every future project they take on. He was the first to respond to Frances McDormand’s Oscar acceptance speech which saw her talk about the rider that would demand equality in front of and behind the camera. It was groundbreaking news by itself but later in September, Warner Bros announced it would partner with Jordan to ensure this became a company-wide policy.

“Inclusivity has always been a no-brainer for me, especially as a black man in this business,” Jordan said. “[But] it wasn’t until Frances McDormand spoke the two words that set the industry on fire – inclusion rider – that I realized we could standardize this practice.”

The first film to hold true to the policy will be Just Mercy, a film that sees Jordan star as civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson. It’s a project that will help to further extend Jordan’s appeal beyond the multiplex and into the awards conversation. Yet there’s a chance he might be heading to the main stage next year with experts predicting a best supporting actor nomination for his performance in Black Panther, a film that might well be the first superhero adventure to ever score a best picture nod.

Jordan has honed his skills and set his goals while plotting to challenge an oppressive system that has weighed people of color down. He’s working hard to claim his own seat at the table, and is taking care to prevent barriers to his progress and that of black actors coming up behind him. With a banner year, he’s not only become Hollywood’s most exciting new leading man, but he’s helping to define what we should expect of other leading men in the future.

Source: The Guardian

Press/Video: Hollywood Star Michael B Jordan Bulked Up for His Return in Creed II | Lorraine

Michael B Jordan is continuing the Rocky legacy, reprising his role as Adonis in Creed II, but he says he felt the need to up his game. Michael is in the best shape of his life, going up against his new nemesis he wanted to make sure the fight looked realistic with both men on a similar physical playing field. Broadcast on 30/11/2018

Press: Michael B. Jordan Meets Fan Who Tweeted A Photoshopped Picture Of Them Together

Press: Michael B. Jordan Meets Fan Who Tweeted A Photoshopped Picture Of Them Together

The actor praised Twitter for doing its thing.

Michael B. Jordan has thanked Twitter for meeting a fan of his for the “second time.”

The “Creed II” actor responded on Thursday to a tweet by Twitter user Bolu Babalola, who hilariously shared a photo of herself with Jordan photoshopped in.

The photo caught the attention of social media users, and eventually led to Babalola meeting Jordan in person and getting a real photo to cherish.

“Happy Twitter did [its] thing,” Jordan wrote. “Great meeting you (for the second time).”

It all started when Babalola shared the photoshopped photo last Saturday teasing that she met “this guy” over the summer but had “lost touch” with him.

She told BuzzFeed News on its morning show this week that she was inspired to share the photo, created by her friend, after reading about two friends who reunited via Twitter after meeting on a cruise ship years prior.

“It just got out of control, I was not expecting it to go that far,” Babalola said of her viral tweet.

Babalola then attended a Q&A for “Creed II” in London and took the opportunity to ask a question about the film – and to inform Jordan that her photoshopped photo had made its rounds on Twitter.

“We gotta get a real picture now,” Jordan responded during the discussion according to a video posted to Twitter.

Indeed the pair later took a photo together, and Twitter users who had been following Babalola’s story celebrated on social media.

Earlier this year, Jordan made headlines when he surprised a teen who brought a life-size cardboard cutout of the actor to her high school prom.

The actor brought the lucky fan, Audeva Agyeman, to the set of “Creed II.” She told HuffPost back in August that it was “one of the best days” of her life.

Source: HuffPost

Press/Video: ‘The Graham Norton Show’ Video Playlist

Michael recently appeared on The Graham Norton Show. Check out the playlist of video clips from the show above.

Press/Video/Radio Interview: “Momager?! – just Kardashian!”: Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson play BLANK SPACE

“This isn’t some British thing?!” Creed 2’s Michael B Jordan and Tessa Thompson try to fill in the blanks and guess what the British public said about celebrities with Nick Grimshaw on Radio 1. Listen to Nick Grimshaw on BBC Radio 1 Mon-Thurs, 4-7pm or by downloading the BBC Sounds app.

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