Creed III is the third chapter of the titular film franchise and marks Michael B. Jordan‘s directorial debut. While the sequel won’t see Sylvester Stallone reprising his role as Rocky Balboa, it takes Adonis Creed (Jordan) in a new direction as he is forced to confront his past when Anderson Dame (Jonathan Majors), a former friend turned new boxing rival blames him for his previous incarnation and attempts to claim the title of world champion by humiliating him on the biggest stage.
The Nerds of Color had the chance to attend the virtual world premiere of the Creed III trailer and join their fellow journalists for a post Q&A with Jordan to talk about his directorial debut and how he wanted to bring more meaningful representation in the sequel.
Jordan approaches representing the deaf community by normalizing them instead of highlighting or asking for sympathy. It was so serious that there was an emphasis on leaning into their resources like interpreters to make sure they got it right. “It was a community of people that didn’t really get true representation as much as they should. And we us this as an opportunity to do that. So casting Mila Davis-Kent was amazing. She’s deaf, us learning ASL, and normalizing it was a really big deal for us,” he said. “Hopefully in watching this movie you you feel it, but it’s not it’s not in a way we’re not trying to highlight it in a way where you we want you know, there’s no there’s no sympathy there, it’s just we’re just normalizing it, and I think it was something that was really important for us to do throughout the story.”
In fact, the studio invited Alberto Madero as the virtual press conference’s ASL interpreter to show how serious Jordan was about representing the ASL community and press.
Jordan also hosted a surprise screening of the trailer in Atlanta, Georgia with Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, and Morris Brown University and treated students to some great surprises. And the director felt that a lot of those themes of family, discovering who they are and who they will be in the future ties into the college experience and life. “I feel like college in general, as you know, I never went but you know, obviously, my family and friends and just understanding what HBCU culture does to incubate black excellence and how we square it, it’s nurtured and grown and developed. And it’s a pivotal time for these students. Who they were going into college and who they’re becoming, and who will they be when they leave when they go off into the world?”
“It’s a lot of things that are going on in this movie that I feel like, would help them have some clarity and relate to sometimes tough decisions that you have to go through as an adult and to become an adult,” Jordan added. “It’s okay, you know, you’re gonna be alright, you’re you’re gonna get through it. So it was really important for me to get this movie to HBCUs. But then also just the representation. I want to be able to them to see themselves on screen in a really big way. And whatever I can do to help ingrain that and be around and be a part and just be of service. You know, being present was something that I wanted to do.”
And Jordan also immortalizes how the Mexican culture is such a pillar within the sport of boxing by casting real-life Mexican boxer Canelo Álvarez in Creed III. Though he couldn’t get into the details of his involvement, Jordan wanted to incorporate the Mexican culture into the sequel since it has gone underrepresented for far too long. “We look back, just the history of boxing and the Mexican culture is such a pillar within the sport of boxing, and I felt like there wasn’t really a lot of representation throughout the films in that type of way. It didn’t seem like the reality I lived in,” he said. “You see Canelo knows in this project as well, and but you have — Jose Benitez plays, you know, Felix Chavez, and it’s a character that I feel it’s strong, and it’s good. So anyway, to answer the question, you know, I just felt that there was a lack thereof that didn’t seem truthful and honest to the sport of boxing.”
Creed III also stars Tessa Thompson as Bianca, Adonis’ wife and mother to Amara; Phylicia Rashad as Mary Anne Creed, Adonis’ mother, Wood Harris as Tony “Little Duke” Evers Jr, Adonis’ coach; and Florian Munteanu as Viktor Drago.
Creed III opens in theaters on March 3, 2022.