Michael B. Jordan: “I Want To Only Go For Roles Written For White Males”
“I got no pushback whatsoever,” Michael B. Jordan said of his audition decision. “Everybody pushed for it.”
During Variety’s “Actors on Actors” interview series, Fahrenheit 451 star Michael B. Jordan sat down with Insecure’s Issa Rae about a major career decision he made after finishing work on Fruitvale Station. “I told my agents I didn’t want to go out for any roles written for African Americans,” Jordan said. “I didn’t want it. I wanted only white men. That’s it. That’s all I want to do.”
“Me playing that role is going to make it what it is. I don’t want any pre-bias on the character. Writers write what they know, what they think encounters with us would be, and that’s slight bias.
In the video, which you can watch above, Jordan shares an example of how Chronicle benefitted his decision and proved he was heading in a different direction. The found-footage superhero movie directed by Josh Trank was highly regarded for Jordan’s performance as a popular school kid who gains incredible powers from this mysterious substance. A sequel is still wanted by certain members of the superhero movie-loving community, but since then Jordan has not looked back. Originally, his character was written in the script as a white teenager named Steve Krasinsky. When Jordan auditioned, he impressed Trank and company so much they cast him and changed the character’s name to Steve Montgomery.
“I wanted to go out for these roles because it was just playing people,” Jordan said. “It didn’t have to be like, ‘You’re playing the black guy in this.’ And everybody would be going out for the same role. Every young black actor from ages to 17 to 40 going out for the same role. How do you reverse engineer that problem of pitted competition with each other and give more opportunities to eat and be successful?” His team at WME seemed to agree with and support him in his decision. “Nobody stopped me,” he concluded. “Everybody believed in me as much as I believed in myself. That was really important for that happening. I got no pushback whatsoever. Everybody pushed for it.”
With his most recent appearance, Fahrenheit 451, wrapped and available to be watched on HBO, Jordan has shifted his focus to Creed II, currently in production in Philadelphia and has a November 21 release date.
See the full discussion between Michael B. Jordan and Issa Rae above.