After spending his entire acting career on one side of the camera, actor Michael B. Jordan is ready to make his directorial debut in Creed III.
The highly anticipated third chapter of the Creed film franchise finds Adonis Creed (Jordan) at a new place in his life with his wife, Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and daughter, Amara. However, just as he is striking a balance between career and family, a former friend Anderson Dame (Jonathan Majors) is freed from prison and wants to hold Creed accountable for everything that’s gone wrong in his life and reclaim what is rightfully his by defeating the champ on the world’s biggest stage.
The Nerds of Color had the chance to attend a special virtual screening of the trailer’s world premiere and a post-Q&A with Jordan about the craft of the film and taking the franchise to a new place.
“I think for me, it was the perfect time. I think growing up on set, been in the industry over 20 years, starting out doing background work, and extra work, and just kind of just seeing the sets evolve, seeing everybody’s job, seeing how a real production and storytelling, you know, took place, I finally got to this place in my career where, you know, I wanted to tell the story, you know, and not just be in front of the camera, not just execute somebody else’s vision,” Jordan said about making his directorial debut. “So to be able to tell the story of where I believe Adonis is that, and also at 35 years old, I had a lot to say, as a young man, as a young black man, My life experiences and how I could actually share that share a piece of myself with the world through through these characters and through the story.”
Jordan credits Ryan Coogler — whom he’s worked with on films like Fruitvale Station, Creed, and Black Panther — for telling him that there is no right time to make a directorial debut. “I was talking to Ryan Coogler, you know, back when we were doing, you know, Creed I, and he was just like, ‘it’s never the right time, we just got to jump in the deep end and go for it.’ [He] gave me a lot of encouragement. So I suppose, it was the right time for me,” Jordan added.
And during his entire acting career, Jordan has been able to work with so many directors, many of whom he’s watched, absorbing all that information and filing it away so that he could use it later when the time called for him to be a director. “I’ve been blessed to work with a lot of incredible directors, and having a lot of guidance and mentors and people that I look up to, and aspire to kind of be on that storytelling level,” he said. “And I’ve been, you know, quietly watching and, you know, putting together like, one of these decks and folders and, and things that I want to try over quite some time now. I was just kind of like waiting for the right opportunity to step up and get behind the camera, and this was the one for me.”
“Having a shorthand with these people, you know, having a clear vision, you know, for what story, I want to tell, because I’ve been, you know, marinating learning and developing it, you know, for So, for such a long time, it was, you know, it was the most challenging thing that I’ve ever done so far, by far, just daily, you know, pushing myself to new limits, you know, learning how to communicate and really, you know, get what’s in your head and, and have other people like, you know, you know, pick up on that passion, you know, and then choose YaSM, and one and one and, you know, execute your vision to the best of their ability. That’s a that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s not an easy task to do. So I just felt everything was just lining up perfectly for this opportunity.”
But those challenges of pulling dual roles as a actor and director were, as Jordan put it, “low-key torture but at the same time so much fun.” “The challenge of accomplishing it all,the multitasking nature of it to develop story, trying to stay in shape, give all the departments what they individually need to kind of go do their job and and then have my process as Adonis it’s really hard to put into words,” he said. “Everyday, it was a struggle, but honestly, it was the team of people that I had around me. You really got to surround yourself with the right help. So you can focus on the things you need to focus on. And sometimes that is doing two things at one time, you know, three things three things at one time, it’s just a part of the job.”
It’s because of what Jordan has experienced watching directors multitasking and how demanding the work is that he has a newfound respect for the craft. “I used to see Ryan [Coogler] and Steven K. Bourne with these projects towards the end of like production and going into post and you would see him there’d be little run down a little tired and I just be like, ‘I got a little more pepper mustard step a little a little more energy,’ clearly cause I don’t have nearly the workload that they did and, and I would empathize with them right now. It’s okay, man, I get it, I get it. I did not get anything. I had no idea,” he said. “It’s only now I can really look at them.I’d be like, ‘you know what, I get it. I understand.’ And they’re like, ‘yeah, you finally get it.’ So it was it was an acknowledgement once you step behind the camera. The undertaking that that is from the outside looking in, it seems tough but it’s extremely, it’s extremely hard to do.”
But Jordan was nervous about how conveying his experience into the story would connect with a larger audience. “I was most nervous that the experience I was trying to tell because it was coming from a lot of it was pulling from from my own personal experience and other people that were close to me that I knew as well. I was nervous about connecting with people,” he said. “You’re creating and developing things and you’re working with the writer and stuff, you’re like, ‘man, is this something that you know, that people will… you know, what they fuck with it,’ Saying like, ‘that’s going on in my head, telling the truth, and being honest. Storytelling is one of the greatest gifts that you can have and give and through and through, we just continue to tell the truth. So, that was something that that was, I was nervous about. But once we started filming and kind of get into it, everything kinda kind of fell to the side.”
Creed III also stars Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, and Florian Munteanu and opens in theaters on March 3, 2022.