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The past three years have been the most important for rising star Michael B. Jordan. Catapulting into stardom with the 2013 indie hit “Fruitvale Station,” Jordan has quickly worked his way to become one of the most promising young actors in Hollywood, and was easily able to carry his own weight against seasoned vets like Sylvester Stallone in the critically and commercially successful “Creed.”
Although Jordan is only now getting his much-deserved attention after a few choice movie roles, his film and television credits reveal years of hard work and dedication, and it’s certainly paying off. Last month, Jordan took home the Entertainer of the Year award and Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for “Creed” at the NAACP Awards.
His first most memorable performance was on the HBO classic “The Wire,” where he played a teenage drug dealer named Wallace who had a rough exterior but a soft side underneath. This led the way to his short-lived time on “Friday Night Lights,” playing quarterback Vince Howard. Right before receiving his big break in 2013, Jordan also starred in “Chronicle,” the surprisingly good found-footage superhero movie. Maturing from a teenager into a young adult while acting helped Jordan cement his status as an actor with serious potential.
Michael B. Jordan was not a newcomer when he was cast in “Fruitvale Station.” In fact, writer-director Ryan Coogler had him in mind while he was writing the script. Perhaps all these years of experience helped Jordan to bring gravitas and sincerity to an important real-life character, who was a good kid that struggled with bad decision making all his life.
Although the majority of his career has been spent as a dramatic actor, Jordan’s comedic ability was able to shine through in a couple roles. “That Awkward Moment” and “Fantastic Four” are both tragically awful movies, but Jordan has surprisingly good comedic timing. In the former, Jordan has great chemistry with Miles Teller, and their bromance is probably the only redeeming part of the movie. However, taking on these comedic roles was not easy for Jordan, and he admits that, “I was jumping into the comedic space like that and it was something that I wanted to have more time with. I think comedy is super hard. Time is so important and I have such a respect for the comedic actors. That’s something I definitely want to start doing in the future.” So it seems that with the progression of Jordan’s career, his acting abilities are becoming more multi-faceted and varied.
Jordan can be most recently seen in the heavyweight performance of Apollo Creed’s son in “Creed.” Although this is not his first time playing the lead in a movie, “Creed” gives Jordan the credibility and stability fully needed to carry his own movie to both critical and commercial acclaim. Many were upset that he did not receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his brilliant performance. His co-star, Academy Award-nominated Sylvester Stallone, offered to boycott the Oscars in response to the snub. Although Stallone recieved most of the nominations and awards, Jordan easily holds his own against the veteran actor and firmly reminds the audience that “Creed” is his movie. Taking on the arguably more difficult role of self-discovery and redemption, Jordan oozes charisma, charm and captivation in a towering performance. He also joins the ranks of respected actors who physically commit to their roles, putting on several pounds of muscle and months of training to play the seasoned boxer, which is the first time he’s done something like this.
Not only has Michael B. Jordan graced movies with his perserverance and talent, but his humility and quiet perseverance has turned him into a spokesperson for diversity in film. Jordan never becomes angry or discouraged by the lack of roles for young black actors in Hollywood, but instead uses this to strengthen his own determination to change things. Whenever he goes to an audition or speaks to a filmmaker, Jordan makes sure to ask for roles that are not written for the token “black guy,” and hopes that soon more roles will unspecified for race.
This determination has helped him to land certain movie roles like “Chronicle,” where he was able to convince director Josh Trank to offer him the role which was originally written for a white Jewish actor. He was also the first black actor to play Johnny Storm in “Fantastic Four,” which has always been cast as a white role.
As compared with other young twenty-something actors in his generation, Michael B. Jordan’s star seems to be rising higher and quicker than his co-stars, and with good reason. Jordan’s performances in film and interviews prove that he’s got what it takes to become the next big thing and change conventions in Hollywood at the same time. And he is already started to do so, as Jordan has just been attached to the “Thomas Crown Affair” remake, which originally had Steve McQueen in the main role.