As he toplines the romantic drama ‘A Journal for Jordan’ and prepares his directorial debut (‘Creed III’), the actor-producer discusses his “clean brand,” new willingness to share his personal life and the price of agitating for real change in Hollywood.
My ambition has intersected at this moment where I have the experience and knowledge to direct, the opportunity within a franchise to step behind the camera and [the ability] to maximize it by having a production company.
It’s my turn to make my impact while I have the energy and strength. I’ve got to tee up the ones that come after, but at the same time hyper-focus on what needs to be done right now.
It’s the moment I’ve waited for my entire life. This is it. This can dictate the next 10, 15, 20 years.
By his own account, Michael B. Jordan has been building his entire life toward this moment. For the past several months, he’s been hunkered down in Atlanta, living in a hotel, which will continue to be his home base for the next half-year as he prepares to make his directorial debut with Creed III.
Meanwhile, he has a new film — the Denzel Washington-directed romantic drama A Journal for Jordan (synopsis and trailer below) — to promote, so although he’s just gone to bed at 5 on this November morning, he’s already up again at half past noon, peeling an orange for sustenance as he chats with a reporter and recounts the outcome of the Canelo Álvarez-Caleb Plant fight the night before, which he and his department heads had watched on pay-per-view for research.
“Canelo fights orthodox — he fights right-handed — but he’s a lefty, so that means his lead hand is his dominant hand, and it’s so dangerous,” says Jordan, shadow-boxing to demonstrate. “[The lead hand] is the setup hand for your power punch, but if your power punch is your setup hand, then people are expecting you to throw the bomb here, but it’s really coming with this guy. So the setup is coming full force.”
For Jordan, everything that has come before — the two-decade ascent to A-list movie star, with a résumé spanning prestige series (The Wire) to billion-dollar blockbusters (Black Panther) — has merely been the setup. It’s all been part of a meticulously calibrated strategy to reach this point in his career and his life where he can finally fully control his narrative, his brand, his business.
He’s keenly aware that his personal trajectory coincided with a timeline of (relative) racial progress in Hollywood, creating a unique window of opportunity, and it’s part of the reason he’s been so strategic.
To be young, Black and successful — and disruptive — in this industry, there’s a certain navigation to get to the place I need to get to.
This is the most open that things have been for somebody who’s in favor right now, and you try to hold that moment and stay in it for as long as you can.
For Jordan, 34, that means capitalizing on his clout, transitioning to more mature parts as an actor, making his debut as a director on a nearly $400 million studio franchise (Creed III, in which he also stars) and branching out as a businessman.
A Journal for Jordan: A Story of Love and Honor
by Dana Canedy
Purchase book on Amazon.
A Journal for Jordan Book Adaptation
Directed by Denzel Washington and starring Michael B. Jordan with a screenplay by Virgil Williams, A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN is based on the true story of First Sergeant Charles Monroe King (Jordan), a soldier deployed to Iraq who begins to keep a journal of love and advice for his infant son.
Back at home, senior New York Times editor Dana Canedy (Chanté Adams) revisits the story of her unlikely, life-altering relationship with King and his enduring devotion to her and their child.
A sweeping account of a once-in-a-lifetime love, the film is a powerful reminder of the importance of family.
A Journal for Jordan – Final Trailer (HD) ~ Video via Sony Pictures Entertainment
Exclusively In Theaters December 25