Press/Video: How Michael B. Jordan is changing the game in front of and behind the camera

Michael B. Jordan has had an epic year.

After a stellar turn as the savage, yet relatable, Killmonger in the smash hit “Black Panther,” the 31-year-old actor will star in the highly anticipated “Creed 2,” which is out next week.

But the man’s work doesn’t stop after the cameras stop rolling.

Jordan has been earmarking and picking out the right combination of projects that he wants to create for his company, Outlier Society Productions.

His company is also joining the push for diversity in Hollywood by adopting a contractual clause, or inclusion rider, that pushes for inclusive casts and crews. And boy does he have some diverse offerings coming down the pike, including a Netflix series about a single black mother raising a superhero and a show on Oprah’s OWN network.

Jordan spoke to “Good Morning America” as part of a charitable campaign with Honey Nut Cheerios called Good Rewards.

He’s competing against Lucy Hale and Rob Gronkowski to try to win $100,000 to donate to his charity, Feeding America. With a munificent past that includes managing food banks, Jordan said he obviously “had a personal connection to Feeding America” and “saw the importance of giving back to the community and people who are less fortunate.”

When he’s not competing against a Super Bowl champion trying to get votes for charity, Jordan is producing projects like “Raising Dion,” a viral comic that’s currently being adapted into a series for Netflix, set to debut next year.

“It’s about a single black mom raising her son with superpowers,” he said. “I feel like moms are superheroes anyway, and they don’t get enough credit.”

He’s also ushering in a show called “David Makes Man,” which he’s doing along with “Moonlight” co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney.

According to Deadline, this series focuses on “a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects who is haunted by the death of his closest friend.”
(MORE: Michael B. Jordan opens up about sharing a name with an NBA legend and dishes on new movie ‘Fahrenheit 451’)

“So, we got the queen, Oprah herself, shepherding that too,” Jordan said. “I also have a couple animation projects I’m doing because I love animation, and a couple movies coming down the pipe, some that I’m in, some that I’m not.”

He said that the company isn’t about creating vehicles for just himself, but “really about creating opportunities for other people … it’s called outlier for a reason.”

And while he loves producing and putting fresh artistic endeavors into the world, he can’t fight the acting bug. He may have checked off a lot of his dream roles in a short time, but he humored “GMA” with what’s still on the top of his list.

“I want to do, like, the voice of an animated movie, because I love animation, and I want to do a Jason Bourne-James Bond thriller, action-type joint,” he said.

Could he compel Matt Damon to bring back his famous former assassin-turned-protagonist?

“Matt is a buddy of mine — he’s also a big supporter of inclusion riders — he and Ben are great actors and fine gentlemen,” he said. “To be able to work with him on something would be epic.”

And then there was the wave of fans and creators who, earlier this year, urged studios to consider Jordan to be the next Superman if Henry Cavill was indeed done with the famed role. This opportunity has Jordan giddy, even if it’s a longshot.

“Just being a fan of comic books, loving fantasy … to be in the mix of a character that I used to watch all the time, it’s pretty cool,” he admitted. “It’s cool to be a part of the conversation no matter where it goes, how false, what happens, how crazy it is. It’s just cool to be talked about in that type of way.”

Source: Good Morning America

Press/Video: Michael B. Jordan surprises kids at MLSE Launchpad

This is the a huge part of the reason I love and respect MBJ.

Michael B. Jordan gave some kids at the MLSE Launchpad the surprise of a lifetime! The ‘Creed II’ star donated boxing equipment on behalf of Warner Brothers. He spent the night interacting with kids and helping them put on their gear. Roger had a chance to ask him about his surprise appearance and what that meant for the children.

Source: Breakfast Television

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: Man of the Year Michael B. Jordan used to sneak into GQ’s parties

Press/Video: Man of the Year Michael B. Jordan used to sneak into GQ’s parties

Before he was named one of GQ’s Men of the Year, Michael B. Jordan was sneaking into the magazine’s famous Men of the Year parties.

The actor was announced as one of the magazine’s MOTY earlier this week, alongside Jonah Hill, Henry Golding and Woman of the Year, Serena Williams, among others, and AOL’s Gibson Johns caught up with Jordan, who said that the title has forced him to reflect on how far he’s come.

“I remember sneaking into those parties,” he said with a laugh. “I remember not being on the list and looking at the bouncer like, ‘Come on, it’s me! Come on, I know you watched ‘The Wire’ — stop playing!’ Going from to those moments at parties to being on the cover of the magazine shows a lot of growth and hard work and I appreciate it. Not in a vanity sense, but just that you consider me to be somebody who deserves the Man of the Year title. It’s an earned title, and you want to live up to it a little bit.”

Jordan’s fame has skyrocketed in the past couple of years thanks to a pair of highly-successful films — “Creed” and “Blank Panther” — both of which will have sequels (“Creed II” hits theaters on November 21). And, with that increased fame comes more of an expectation to be a good role model. It’s something that Jordan has noticed more during his recent interactions with fans; it’s clear to him that he’s had a pretty profound impact on young men, especially.

“More now, since I really started to feel it transition in my career, with ‘Creed’ and ‘Black Panther,'” he said when we asked if he worries about being a good role model. “That’s when I really started to see the kids start to show me love. High school kids and little kids [will be] coming up to me, and I’m like, ‘Oh, man. This is a moment for you.’ So, I’m like, ‘Whats up?’ and I’m really starting to realize they pick up on things I say and do and they’re reciting lines from movies and I’m like, ‘Oh, man, they’re soaking up everything I say.’ So, it makes you a little more conscious of where you are and what you’re saying and what example you’re going to be.”

A recent example of that realization came this summer when Jordan was driving by a school in Montgomery, Alabama, and decided to stop by and surprise the group of boys outside the school. Footage of the surprise that he posted on Instagram instantly went viral, and the feel good clip has over 2 million views and makes it clear that Jordan has cemented himself as an aspirational figure for many little boys. He still gets “goosebumps” thinking about the moment.

“You feel responsible in a sense. This is the moment where you know they’re ears are wide open and their eyes are locked,” he explained. “You’re like, ‘Okay, I have a chance to deposit something good in them, so let me just give them some good energy and feed their souls a little bit.'”

Another way that he’s positioning himself as a good example to young people is through giving back. The actor recently partnered with Honey Nut Cheerios on its new Good Rewards program, which allows families to partner with celebrities like Jordan, Lucy Hale and Rob Gronkowski, to win money for charity. Growing up with a father who worked at a food bank, the actor has always recognized the importance of helping others and he’s still figuring out the best way to use his ever-growing platform to do so.

“I’m just trying to find the right way to do it,” Jordan said of giving back. “Sometimes trying to think of the perfect way [to do so] will leave you paralyzed and make you not do anything, but anything counts. Any little bit is going to help. Just do something, because it will make somebody’s day. It comes from my parents and watching them give back, whether it’s donating old clothes or giving to food pantries or volunteering at the food bank, it’s always been second nature.”

Check out the video from the original article here.

Source: AOL

Press/Video: Michael B. Jordan On Being A Sex Symbol, ‘Black Panther II’ Rumors + Remembering Stan Lee

MBJ sat down with Ebro in the Morning to promote Creed II. They discussed his thoughts being a sex symbol, whether his character Erik Killmonger will be back for the Black Panther sequel, the death of Stan Lee, and his upcoming projects.

Press/Video: Michael B. Jordan Reveals Best Part of Living With His Mom — No, She Doesn’t Do His Laundry!

He has his priorities! Michael B. Jordan still lives at home — and it definitely has its perks.

“The best part of living with my family I want to say [is] home-cooked meals,” the Creed II actor, 31, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, November 13. “I think being able to come home and have my mom [Donna Jordan] be able to cook some home-cooked food is pretty cool.”

However, the perks aren’t limitless: “[My mom] does not do my laundry. It stops there. Mom doing my laundry, that’s not it.”

Jordan, who became a household name after Black Panther hit theaters in February, told Us that his life has changed immensely in the wake of stardom.

“I think the pace [of my life has changed]. So the ambition never stops. I’m constantly moving, constantly working on things, but the pace of everything seems to be just sped up a lot,” he explained to Us. “So this has all been kind of like a dream come true. Everything I’ve been working for my entire life, my entire career, just seems to be happening right now at one moment. So yeah, this is a good moment for me.”

But luckily for Jordan, his family keeps him in check. “I’m in the moment, but I’m always thinking about what’s next. I think other people sometimes stop me and tell me to take a breath and look around,” he noted. “[My] mom, dad [Michael A. Jordan], best friends [do that for me], friends that are like family. I got a great circle around me, so everybody kind of keeps me on straight.”

The Marvel star also stays grounded by partnering with charitable causes, such as Honey Nut Cheerios’ Good Rewards Program Opens a New Window. . “I love the organization, what they represent, what they stand for. As a kid, I used to eat Honey Nut Cheerios all the time … So I had already had a personal connection with it and the fact that they were doing this great charity give back, I thought it was amazing,” Jordan told Us. “You get a chance to win $100,000 for the charity of your choice. Mine was Feeding America. My dad used to work in food banks growing up and always had a direct, personal connection with that, getting involved. So I just thought it was an amazing cause to give back.”

Source: Us Weekly

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: Can Barrier-Breaking ‘Black Panther’ Become The First Superhero Movie Nominated For Best Picture?

Press: Can Barrier-Breaking ‘Black Panther’ Become The First Superhero Movie Nominated For Best Picture?

Black Panther has risen to plenty of challenges, shattering every expectation to far surpass the ticket sales of any film by a Black director, with a cast populated by African and African-American performers, on its way to a $1.3 billion global gross. But there’s one challenge remaining: can the film overcome a clear Academy prejudice and get a fair shake as a Best Picture candidate?

It’s a prejudice that, for once, is nothing to do with race. If history is a guide, what Black Panther must overcome is the kneejerk reaction of Academy voters to dismiss superhero movies outright. If it gets its Best Picture nomination, it’d be a first. Not even Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy cracked that recognition, even as it spurred the Academy to broaden the Best Picture category from five to a possible 10 nominees. The challenge facing Marvel and Disney this season is preventing Black Panther from being marginalized as just another high roller in the Marvel Cinematic Universe assembly line. It is so much more.

Beyond the big business, Black Panther is as landmark for the superhero genre as Get Out was for horror, tackling deep-seated issues, often for the first time in mainstream cinema. When Wakandan king T’Challa addresses countries at the UN about nations building bridges and not barriers, it’s hard not to see his speech as an answer to Trump’s isolationism.

Among the bona fides worth considering this awards season: after playing color barrier-breakers Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall, Chadwick Boseman brings the same quiet dignity to T’Challa, convincingly infusing intellect and physicality to a character first created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in recognition of the changing world of 1960s Civil Rights reforms. Both in front of and behind the camera, Black Panther featured a strong contingent of women, like production designer Hannah Beachler and costume designer Ruth E. Carter, who indelibly stamped the film as a celebration of African culture and created a living, breathing world in Wakanda. Michael B. Jordan, making his third film with Ryan Coogler after Fruitvale Station and Creed, left an indelible mark as Erik Killmonger, turning the grudge-holding cousin of T’Challa and rival for the Wakandan throne into a whirlwind of rage without making himself a scenery-chewer.

Black Panther’s living, breathing scale comes from its depiction of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, which brims with technological advancement and a profound connection to its imagined history and culture.

But what may not be evident on screen—except in the most subconscious ways—is how profoundly everybody involved in its creation invested pieces of their personal journeys into Black Panther. As they searched for their own identities as African-American descendants of the continent of Africa, theirs is a celebration of a place so often depicted as volatile or violent. In the mix are subtle infusions of the Black Power movement, the unforgivable history of the slave era and the ravaging of Africa’s natural resources. All that wrapped up in a Marvel movie destined for maximum reach.

Ryan, what did you see as the biggest opportunity—and challenge—of taking the reins of a film of this scale, tackling issues this deep-seated while addressing a huge audience?

Ryan Coogler: A lot of the challenge was personal. I had only done two feature films so far and never worked with a budget this large. Beyond the subject matter, just that alone is enough to stress you out. Then, a studio that hadn’t really had a film that didn’t work in a business and critical sense, and not wanting to be the one who failed in trying to get the theme right.

Which theme?

Coogler: For all of us, it was: what does it mean to be African? When I was approached, I had never been to the continent. Even though my ancestors are from there, I view myself through the lens of being African from an African-American context and being part of the diaspora. I wanted so badly to get that right and questioned if I was the right person for the job. The insecurity I felt all the way through the process stemmed from one or all of those things. Each day, we conquered those things by bringing on people, our key collaborators, department heads, and eventually our cast. We shared the burden of all of those things, and through our own individual perspectives, we got through it together.

What was your connection to Africa before you started this? Stories told by your parents as you grew up in Oakland, CA?

Coogler: Yeah. When you come from where I’m from, the way you learn about the continent is through your elders and usually in the context of the slavery conversation. The “how did we get here?” conversation is something that is alluded to in the start of our film.

With the short history that introduced the Black Panther Africa mythology through drawings that included slave ships?

Coogler: Yeah. The tough part about it is, you find out you’re learning about this place from people who haven’t been there themselves, due to circumstance. I remember having conversations about the continent with my grandmother, who’s 90 now and just had a chance to go a few months ago. She lived her entire life up to that point in the United States, so you’re hearing about a place through her idealized lens; an almost fantastical lens because it’s often the flipside to the deepest negative story you could have, which is the story of how we actually got here. So you hear about this other place that has to be counterbalanced as being beautiful and perfect and peaceful; the idealized version of Africa that lives in the head of a lot of African-Americans, especially when you’re young. And one that runs contrary to what I saw in the media about the continent—overwhelmingly negative stuff—when I was growing up. It was never the full story. So there was definitely an emotional connection; one of pride, one of mystery, and also one of shame when you look at how it’s portrayed.

Before writing the script with Joe Robert Cole, you spent almost a month in Africa. Will Smith once said he didn’t understand how Africa had changed Muhammad Ali until Smith went over there to prepare to play him. What did that trip mean to your own search for identity, and the formation of the film?

Coogler: Growing up African-American, there’s an anger that exists in you, the more knowledge that you get about history and what happened to your ancestors. On this quest, you find out why you didn’t grow up in this place, one that tends to be hostile towards people who look like you, and towards your culture. So I guess I had 29 years’ worth of that anger and this deep sense of loss. Because the African-American culture that we have, it’s something we built from scraps. We were cut off from our religion, from our language on the continent. Systematically, that was broken and then what we call African-American culture, is kind of bastardized in what you’re taught by white media. You’re taught that from other Black people and when you come in contact with Africans from that continent that you are different, and not really a part of its history.

So when I actually went to the continent for the first time, what surprised me most was that I found I had so much in common with people from the continent. I spent time with Lupita’s family in Kenya. I went to South Africa first, and it blew my mind that I looked so much like the people there. If I closed my mouth and didn’t talk, people would come up to me and speak their own native languages and expect me to answer. That was extremely moving. I discovered that a lot of the rituals and cultural practices we’re doing as African-Americans, they are originally from the continent, and my ancestors actually did hold on to them. They call it different names but we still hold parts of that in our history, our heritage. It replaced a lot of that anger I felt with hope. It put me at ease and made me feel like I had a bigger family than I ever thought I did.

And changed your sense of self-identity?

Coogler: Absolutely. Yeah. Afterwards, I came home and took… you ever heard of that African Ancestry site?

Lupita Nyong’o: Ancestry.com?

Coogler: Not that one.

Michael B. Jordan: The 23andMe one?

Nyong’o: Oh, the AfricanAncestry.com one that Chadwick is always talking about.

Coogler: Yeah. Chad put me on it. They have a huge database of ethnic genetic information from the continent and they compare and contrast it to the information you give with a swab. They can tie you to different ethnic groups and tell you where your ancestors most likely were from. It turns out my wife [Zinzi Evans] and I found out that I’m from the Tikar people from Cameroon and that her people were Tikar as well. On my other side, I’m Yoruba from Nigeria. It was crazy to find that out.

The film just connected me to that continent. We all tried to tap into that feeling with this film; we talked about it all the time on the set. We had many different people from the two continents, and everybody had a stake in the film and a sense that this had got to be right because our families were going to watch this. People I’m connected to are going to see this. It has got to tell our story and tell it with authenticity and dignity.

Lupita, when you were growing up in Kenya, aspiring to do the things you’re doing now, how did the movies you watched influence your sense of self-identity?

Nyong’o: You’d be surprised how prevalent American cinema is around the world. I grew up watching predominantly American cinema and British television. And Mexican television. A lot of my influences were foreign, and worlds I did not know. I grew up watching Jackie Chan and Steven Seagal and Bruce Lee, because we had a lot of these fantastical action films. I also grew up watching The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. When you watch things from other worlds it expands your imagination and it connects you to humanity in a more empathetic way because you’re experiencing people that look nothing like you and yet they’re going through things that you’re going through. Like the Von Trapp children, who can’t get their father to pay them attention. I felt that way about my dad, you know.

What’s the impact of consuming culture that largely excludes you?

Nyong’o: It draws the world closer to you, but what it also does is it estranges you from yourself because you do not have the opportunities to see yourself reflected on screen. It breeds this idea that to be something else is better than to be yourself. So you’re striving and aspiring for things that are totally out of your grasp. A film like this was so important and so vital for me to be a part of and to commit to, because it was offering a mirror that I just never had.

I went to Nigeria in May, shortly after the film came out. Black Panther was still in the cinema. That longevity doesn’t happen on the continent. It’s not our primary source of entertainment, because watching films in cinemas is extremely expensive. But people were going in droves. I met people who went with their mother, their grandmother, and their children. It was totally bringing in different generations.

One man in his 60s turned to me and said, “I am so mad because I didn’t know I needed that; a reflection of myself.” It was such a powerful validation to so many, including me, who worked on it. What I think then it does for people who are not Black and who are not African is that it offers them the opportunity that Jackie Chan and Steven Seagal offered me. To see we are not any different. So it’s so important to have that cross pollination and that’s what this film did.

I grew up a white Marvel Comics kid and never thought about how it would be to not see heroes who share my skin color. The overwhelming success of Black Panther might change that for future generations. Michael and Ryan, you guys were also comic book kids. How did a lack of Black characters make you feel, and what did Black Panther mean to you as the rare exception?

Coogler: That’s how I found Black Panther. I was into comics, coming up in the late-’80s, early-’90s, and there was a comic book shop right across the street from my elementary school. We would go there in between school and basketball practice. We would read the books. We didn’t have money to buy them, but they’d let us thumb through them. I went in and asked the guy, “Are there any Black comic book characters in here?” I really was searching for it and that’s how I found out about Panther. He took me over and showed me some issues that Panther was in. He kind of pitched me who he was and so I learned about him at an early age, literally seeking out—there wasn’t a word for it yet, but representation—I was looking for it there. That’s how I found him.

Jordan: Similar thing for me, but I didn’t have a place like that. I watched the X-Men cartoons—Saturday morning cartoons—and that got me into comic books. There was a pool hall in Montclair, New Jersey. My dad would take me, and he would teach me how to shoot pool. There was a comic book store downstairs right next to an old Blockbuster Video store where we would rent movies and stuff. That was our tradition. He would take me and my little bro to go play pool and we would stop downstairs and grab a movie and I could get a comic book. I’d go through them and try to find different things I liked. Black Panther was one of them because he was one of the few that looked like me. Black Panther and Bishop [from X-Men]. Bishop was one of my favorite characters growing up.

Coogler: With the mullet and the curl and the tat on his face?

Jordan: Yeah. Those were ones that I really connected with. Black Panther was just always that dude. I guess at that age you are not really connecting the dots with the whole representation aspect, and it wasn’t something I knew I needed at that time, but once I realized that’s what I was missing out on…

Now that I’m making films, I want to produce and create more projects that are aspirational. A guy like me could be a doctor, an astronaut. So when this project came up, everything was magnified. It was an intense feeling; an opportunity even if wasn’t so specific or articulated. But a feeling that this generation needs to see themselves on the screen because this is what it’s going to do for them. This Halloween, we saw all these young kids, women, little girls and boys dressed as Killmonger or Nakia. You feel like, man, this is what they’ve been waiting for. They didn’t even know they needed this. They didn’t understand what representation could do for a person, in moving forward and having dreams. Lupita, when did you become aware of Black Panther?

Nyong’o: When Chadwick got cast. Back in 2014. I was like, “Oh, there’s a Black superhero? That’s cool.” It goes back to the difference for me when we talk about being aware of people that look like you in the media and it being so rare. I loved comic books but I grew up reading Tintin and Popeye. I grew up in a predominantly Black world, but in my little child mind anything worth writing about was white. I remember drawing my family and coloring them with beige because all my children’s books had beige characters. I thought that was how you draw. That’s how unaware I was of how warped it was. Those were the images that I had. My dream to want to be an actor was born really young. I watched The Sound of Music and said, “I want to be her!” I had no problem connecting with people that didn’t look like me. Until I saw The Color Purple and I’m like, “Wait a minute, these people look exactly like me. They have kinky hair like mine.” Sometimes the hunger to see yourself is totally silent and unconscious until you finally see it, and then it’s like a floodgate opens.

Jordan: You want to make up for lost time. You want to catch up to that.

Nyong’o: I had no problem, because I didn’t grow up in a country whose structure was racial in the same way that America is. So the ability to connect was straightforward until such a time that it wasn’t. There’s a lot of hurt when it comes to all African peoples. [Ryan and Michael] have explained the African-American situation. For Africans, Africa has been a continent that has been exploited often, in all sorts of ways. A lot has been taken from the continent and one thing that Africa does not receive is the acknowledgment for the things it has contributed, way back to the origins of the world as we know it today. This goes in all areas. You’re talking resources. You’re talking culture. You’re talking art. All of it. I grew up with a deficit of an appreciation for my culture. There is also a lot of condescension that we experience from the world. There’s a lot of, I would say, underestimation from people from the continent and it’s something that we grapple with all the time.

Coogler: There’s surprise when someone sees you’re intelligent.

Nyong’o: Like, “You mean there are skyscrapers on the continent? Wait a minute, you’ve got Wi-Fi?” Even though, right now, mobile commerce in Africa is more advanced than it is here for certain. There is also a very comfortable ignorance that people are never called on. It’s not OK to not know about England and the River Thames, but the idea that you’d know anything about the Nile and where it starts and where it ends, that’s not expected of anyone in the world. Even to this day I hear doctors that refer to Africa as a country. We had to grapple with a narrative of a country that has isolated itself from the continent, and from the world, and what does that mean for an African nation to turn its back on its own continent? But it is also self-loving and…

Jordan: Independent.

Nyong’o: And totally independent. There’s something very aspirational about that. The fact that you could have a completely contemporary, traditional society that is operating on a level that is aspirational for everybody else. That was the healing factor. That’s the thing that I feel we wanted to make sure we highlighted and celebrated, that in a sense this is an incubator for an Africa that will never exist but one that we can reclaim in our minds and aspire to be. Bringing those sensitivities to the table to make a film representative of African peoples—both African and African-American—that both parties would watch and feel like it was authentic to their story. We were successful in that. When I was in Nigeria, an elderly man said to me, “How are my cousins Boseman and Jordan?” I’ve never heard that sentiment before. In a sense, the film allowed us to meet in the middle of the Atlantic, saying we are cousins. We are related and there is a connection to be made and to be fostered.

Michael, Killmonger was a much more grounded and layered villain than we’re used to in superhero cinema. What went into keeping him from being a one-dimensional bad guy?

Jordan: I can’t take credit for that. It was all the research and work Ryan and Joe Robert Cole put into crafting this character, understanding the pain that we have because we are African-American and we’re here. Erik became a product of his environment, he’s what circumstance and his country made him. As a kid he heard stories of Wakanda, this place he’s never been to, that is in his blood, but which he doesn’t even really know exists because he is in Oakland. How could Wakanda exist for someone like me?

That hope being taken away from him at a very young age sent him down a path of where he decided to become the best version of himself under his circumstances, and he’s going to find this place by any means necessary. If you have empathy for Killmonger, it’s because you understand his motive. You understand how much pain he has in this heart, and that he wants the injustice done to him to be heard. He doesn’t care if he dies. He had to make an impact on T’Challa. At the end of the movie, you see him go back into Oakland and buy those buildings. So Killmonger did win, in my eyes. It wasn’t about living or dying. It’s about just getting the point across and having a conversation, one that has never been had on screen before. About what it means to be African, seeing what African-Americans have been through.

I go through that same type of pain. I know what oppression feels like. I know what that is. Maybe we’re not so different. I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways from the movie. To bring some humanity to somebody who was constantly looked at as not human.

Did you find yourself having a similar transformative experience when you visited the continent?

Jordan: I did, but not in preparation for this movie. I had a chance to go a few years ago when I shot this movie Chronicle out there in Cape Town, South Africa. Crazy; that location for a movie set in Seattle. That was my first time going and honestly, just hearing Ryan talk about his experiences and his anticipation of going, my experience was similar. I expected to see something else. My parents are pretty aware. They’ve never been to the continent either. I’d always been told as a kid stories about Nigeria and the Yoruba culture and Kenya and Ghana. I have a lot of family and friends from Ghana and so a pretty 360-degree understanding of it, but all that was nothing compared to actually going there and being around your people and visiting Robben Island and that prison where Nelson Mandela spent so many years, and learning about apartheid that isn’t in the textbooks. Which is a very narrow window of what they want you to know, and kind of how to feel and view yourself.

To be able to go and visit the shanty towns and see what life is like over there and what they’re going through, but then also being able to see very strong, Black, powerful, wealthy, educated people. People will actually ask, “Did you see wild animals walking around?” No, not at all. It’s actually a big, huge city with tall skyscrapers and buildings and all that other stuff. I was 23 or 24, and going over made a big impact on me. And then to be a part of this movie, giving me the point of view from the African-American perspective, it was really important to me. I took it very seriously and I am going back. For Thanksgiving.

Nyong’o: Where are you going?

Jordan: Joburg.

Nyong’o: You haven’t had enough of South Africa, I see.

Jordan: No, I know, I’ve got to get up north.

Nyong’o: You’ve got to come east! Come on! You can’t sit across from me and not go to Kenya.

Jordan: I know!

It sounds like there’s a dinner invite in there somewhere.

Nyong’o: It’s an open invitation.

Coogler: Take that up, Mike. Her family is amazing.

Source: Deadline

Press/TV Alert: Variety, PBS SoCal Announce Lineup for Ninth Season of ‘Variety Studio: Actors on Actors’

Variety and PBS SoCal have announced the actor lineup and schedule for the ninth season of “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.”

The first two episodes of the Emmy Award-winning series will premiere on PBS SoCal on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. with episodes three and four set to premiere on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. All episodes will stream on pbssocal.org following their premieres.

This season will feature the following actor pairings and conversations: Lady Gaga (A Star is Born) with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns); Mahershala Ali (Green Book) with John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman); Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place / Mary Poppins Returns) with Hugh Jackman (The Front Runner); Emma Stone (The Favourite) with Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy); Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) with Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther); Nicole Kidman (Destroyer/Boy Erased) with Amy Adams (Vice); Charlize Theron (Tully) with Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther); Armie Hammer (On the Basis of Sex / Sorry to Bother You) with Dakota Johnson (Suspiria); Glenn Close (The Wife) with Sam Elliott (A Star is Born); Viggo Mortensen (Green Book) with Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther); Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) with Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Kindergarten Teacher); John Krasinski (A Quiet Place) with Rosamund Pike (A Private War); Felicity Jones (On the Basis of Sex) with Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians).

“In only a few years, Variety’s Actors on Actors has become a become a crucial stop on the road to the Oscars,” said Ramin Setoodeh, New York bureau chief, Variety. “We are delighted to be partnering again with PBS SoCal for a series of illuminating conversations with the bravest actors at the movies this year.”

“Variety Studio: Actors on Actors” will air on PBS stations across the nation starting in January (check local listings). Variety’s Actors on Actors issue will hit newsstands on Dec. 4 with clips appearing on variety.com starting at the beginning of December presented by Amazon Studios.

“We are proud to once again partner with Variety Studio: Actors on Actors to bring Southern California audiences as well as viewers across the country into the hearts and minds of Hollywood’s most acclaimed talent,” said Andrew Russell, president and CEO, Public Media Group of Southern California. “Being in the business of telling stories that matter, PBS SoCal has a passion for creating smart, original content that captures the spirit of the region. We look forward to bringing viewers these intimate conversations from this incomparable lineup of actors included in this season whom we admire for their work and contribution to their craft.”

Source: Variety

Press/Video: Michael B. Jordan Dishes on His Dating Life

Despite getting shout-outs from other celebrities, Michael B Jordan is one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors!

Last night, Michael went solo at the premiere of his newest film, “Creed II.” He told “Extra’s” AJ Calloway, “I’m completely single, man. I’m by myself with my family, just getting this movie out to the people.”

Jordan is well aware of the offers coming in, including from Nicki Minaj, who flirted with him from the stage by suggesting he was going to take off her dress after the People’s Choice Awards. Along with hearing that, he has also heard about Tiffany Haddish’s crush on him.

The in-demand man commented, “I’m a fan of all of them, man… Those are all my friends, man. They’re great artists doing what they do. They support me. I support them. It’s a lot of love.”

Michael got in fighting shape to play Adonis Creed again, but admitted he isn’t in the same shape now. “I dropped weight for a movie,” he told “Extra. “I’m in the off season.”

“Creed II” hits theaters November 21.

Source: Extra

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