Talking Stone Film

Film Reviews & Headlines


– I think for me since
I started out so young, when I was around 11 or 12-years-old, I didn’t really have that, you know, oh, I wanna be an actor, mom,
put me into the industry. It was just something
that kind of happened and I just so happened to be good at it and it was just from one
small success to another. Fate and just kind of like the
way things just worked out. I just continued to walk my path. – You were clearly booked
and busy from day one. – I just show up, that’s just my thing. – He just shows up and he’s talking to a room full of people at the BFI. (laughing) Now talk about your parents, what were they watching
that influenced you with your creativity? Was there a particular show that the whole family would
get together and watch around the TV or a film
that kind of really sparked your interest from your parents’ taste? – I wish I had like a real deep philosophical answer for that but it was, you know, my mom’s an artist. She paints, she works with leather goods and canvas and she’s always reupholstering the couches in the house
and stuff like that. So I was always constantly around, like some type of art,
some type of creativity. I was big into anime and
comic books and cartoons. And I was a very, I don’t know, I was always in my imagination as a kid. The acting thing just kind of, it just kinda about honestly. And I guess, I feel like I’m an empath, I feel like I feel people
and people’s energy. So just being able to connect with people. And somehow that made sense for me when it came to characters and scripts and being able to convey that emotion, is something that I can’t really explain. It’s just something that, that’s just me. – It’s just the magic? – It’s, you know, yeah, it’s just certain things you
just can’t really explain. Like you just kinda try
to stay out your own way and I just really embraced it and took it one step at a time. – And when it came to sort
of converting that magic into action, obviously,
that brings on auditions. So can you tell us
about the first audition that you remember going on? And what kind of kid were you when it came to sort of preparation? – That’s a great question. – Thanks, I tried (laughing). – She asked me in the back, she was like, “Do you
wanna know the questions?” I’m like, “Nah, we’re gonna
wing it, let’s just do it”. I’m trying to think, what, first audition. I wanna say it was for The Sopranos. It might’ve been The
Sopranos. I was an extra. I was one of the kids during Tony’s flashback shrink sessions. I was one of the kids in Coney Island that was bullying him
walking down the street. And I mean, does those count? ‘Cause I feel like those are just kinda like showing up–
– That counts. – And just like, you know, all right, talk shit to this kid
walking down the street. And it’s like all right, I
could just chat shit, whatever. – Yeah, but you booked it.
– No, I did, I did. So that was, I guess
my first real audition that I remember was this
movie called Hardball It was a Paramount film.
It was a baseball movie with Keanu Reeves and Diane Lane. And that was the first project that I actually to travel
to go actually shoot. We shot it in Chicago, Illinois. And it was like me and about
seven other kids in a room. It was like a mix and match, you know, trying to find the chemistry and what not and we’re reading these lines. And I just remember just being a kid. I think when you’re really young and you start out, well
at least for me anyway, you’re just being a kid, you know. I just happened to kind of like
fit the mold at the moment, until you really start
to put your mind to it. And I think that was right
around The Wire days, which came shortly after that. Like between 13 and 16, those three years, I did a lot of developing on my mind of really what the industry could be and what a career could be for myself. So that’s when I started
to really be intentional and really commit to certain things. So yeah, The Wire was
the one that I first … The Wire was the character that … I mean, the The Wire was the show that I really fell in love with the craft. The first time I lost
myself in a character. That was, yeah, that show
changed my life I think. – Well, it’s like you’re psychic ’cause guess what, Michael.
– Ah, man. – Shall we take a look at you in action as Wallace in The Wire? – I was rough back
then, just bear with me. – Let’s see you in those canerows. – Ah, man. (audience applauding) – Young M.B.J. in the cut. – Oh, man, I sound, like
my voice is so crazy. (laughing) – Is it weird seeing
yourself from that young? – It is, it is and the crazy thing is I remember everything about that scene. Just the process, I remember
rehearsing that scene, I remember the cable on the wall. I was trying to find
business to do in the hallway and I just started like, you know, fiddling around with the cable. Yeah, that scene for me was kinda like the moment,
’cause right after that I noticed there was a
dead body in the backyard and that kinda changes
Wallace’s trajectory for the rest of the season. So that was the lead up
to that character moment. So, yeah, it definitely takes me back and at the same time it
feels like yesterday. – Just yesterday, I mean, only your haircut’s changed really. – Yeah, yeah, I mean the
hair, like that braids. Man, I was, yeah, yeah,
puberty, puberty y’all, puberty. (laughing) – Won’t it do it? I mean, how did you and
your way to that character? ‘Cause obviously, you grew up
in completely different areas. So how did you find your way to like, I guess the soul of Wallace? – I think that was the era
that I was talking about of just being a kid. I just so happened to be able to show, ’cause Wallace’s character …
is based off of real people. Wallace is based off two people, it was a guy and girl. And, you know, I guess that emotional part of Wallace that having
a conscience, you know. Of not being fit for the game, you know. Or not having it in
him, but he was a victim of his circumstances, you know. He was doing whatever it took to kind of survive in that environment. And he had heart, he had compassion, he cared, you know, he was
taking care of the lookout, the lookout boys and stuff like that. So he, looking back at
it, I know David Simon was basically having the audience fall in love with this kid
for his ultimate demise and heartbreak at of the end of the– – Yeah, spoiler alert guys. – Listen it’s been over a decade, there no more spoilers. (laughing) Yeah, but I think, yeah, it was leading up to that emotion, building
on those characters to know that he was gonna end the way he did at the end of the season. So, it, yeah, man, just,
yeah it takes me back. And it’s cool to kinda
reflect on that moment because it meant a lot to me and honestly, it changed my career. – How refreshing was it to you to have been given that kind
of material at that age? – I don’t think I realised
what it was as I was doing it, but in hindsight, you
know, it’s looking back it, it is the why behind the
clickbait, or the headline. Or, you know, how did they get the drugs? That’s one of the amazing
things about The Wire, is like, season by season
they peeled back the layers to how you got to the low-rises. You went into the docks, you know, how they got imported in with the mobs. And how union workers, police officers, politicians looked the other way to let this shipment come in. And everybody’s kinda working together to kinda create this thing. And it’s never been portrayed
like that before The Wire. So it gives some context
and some background and shows some humanity, you know, to these characters that a lot of people don’t get a chance to meet first hand. They only interactions that they have or their only perception that they have is what the news and
media kinda like portrays and the propaganda. And that, you know, I think we’re a lot of intelligent people in here, we all know that that’s
very skewed and biased. So if you run across somebody
from a different country and the only thing they have to look at is what you see on TV, people might be a little apprehensive, might fall into these stereotypes. And that’s the power of cinema, that’s the power of story-telling. And you just have to be
responsible with that. So, you know, being able
to be a part of show to be a part of that enlightenment, it was a blessing. – For sure, now your
character, as we discussed, again, it’s been 10
years, he met his demise at the end of the first season. Now as a 15-year-old
actor how tough was that to accept that you were just
gonna be doing one season? I mean, how did you deal with being like, okay, just been on this massive show and now my character’s been killed off? – So one thing about The Wire,
nobody was safe, all right? Like anybody can get it at any time. It was one of those shows
like Game of Thrones, like real shit, like every week, you’re like somebody’s gonna go. So what we did was, honestly,
you would get a script and you just flip through it to make sure your name was at the end
of the script, you know. And it was like, oh,
okay, I made it, cool. Now I can read it, you
know what I’m saying. – Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. – And at that time a few of the characters had got killed of in the season, that you didn’t really expect. And you never wanted to get
that knock on your trailer door from David Simon, ’cause you know, that was usually him coming in trying to let you down easy. And he knocked on my trailer
door, he was just like, “look, Mike, we love you,
everybody here loves you, you know, which is why we gotta kill ya.” You know (laughing). And I just remember being real sad and I was crying and moping around set because I was 15 and I got a chance to really get to know
those guys, you know, Idris Elba and Dominic West and Andre Royo and Wendell Pierce, you know, everybody on the
show, we’re like family. So just knowing that I
wasn’t gonna get a chance to come to work with them
and spend time with them was really sad. But everybody was like, you’ll be fine. I was like, why you do you it
will be fine, you don’t know. Yeah, so it was definitely
an impactful time, but, you know, things turned out, I guess. – I mean, so yeah, when it was that, how did that prepare
you for the acting game as a business? – You know, everything is gonna
come to an end at some point no matter how great it
is, or great of a run. You have shows and characters
that are very memorable and make a huge impact on people, but everybody has their
time, nothing lasts forever. So you gotta enjoy it and what do you do with that time that you have,
is what’s really important. And it did give me, I mean
that was a masterclass in front of the camera
and behind the camera, on so many different levels that I always kinda take with me. Like I was spoiled very young, you know. I got a chance to work on
that show when I was 15. So everything else I’m like, what is this, I don’t know what this is. Like, I’m used to
working with David Simon, et cetera, et cetera. But I didn’t have that attitude but at the same time I just
set a certain bar for myself, you know, that that was the type of work that I wanted to do and be a part of. And I just tried to hold
myself to that standard and it just directly affected my tastes when it came to projects and material. – So that brings us to one
of your biggest film projects from just after that
time, a few years after, Fruitvale Station, an incredible movie. Clap it up for Fruitvale. (audience applauding)
Brilliant movie! And that was the beginning
of your relationship with Ryan Coogler, your good friend. Now, you were only about 26
when you made that movie. About 25, 26. – I think.
– Okay. – Yeah, so I think, yeah, 25, 26, yup. – And it was based on
the life of Oscar Grant who was sadly shot and
killed New Year’s Day about 10 years ago, actually,
2009, that happened. What kind of responsibility did you feel taking on such a role? ‘Cause I mean, we’re gonna
talk about Just Mercy later on because Bryan is very much still alive. But you know, taking on the story of a young black man who’s
died in an unjust way, how did you approach that? – It was at a time where I was very, you know, as a young black man, I think it was very frustrated with what was going on in America. I think Trayvon Martin had
just got killed down in Florida and I remember just
being really frustrated and really upset and I didn’t really know how to express myself. I don’t know what social media platform I was on at that time, but it was like, I
remember just writing stuff and just like deleting
it, nah, I can’t say that. You know, nah, I can’t say that. And I just felt very, I
don’t know, like suffocated, like not being able to
fully express myself the way I wanted to. And I just really put into the universe, I wanted a project that allowed me to say what I wanted to say. I swear to you, it was
like one of those things that things just kinda happen. And then I was also being
frustrated as an actor, like not really, I was questioning myself. I was like, okay, can I carry a film? You know, I’ve never been
a lead of a movie before. What kind of actor am I gonna be? I’m like 26 years-old I’m in LA, going for broke every role. You know, you’re doing little
guests appearances here and guests star here. You know, running out of
money like two months later, then you’re trying to figure out what the next jobs gonna be. It was that time that I was just trying to figure things out, wondering if I was gonna move
back to New Jersey or not. It was a lot going on. And I remember I got a call from my agent that, and how it happened, I
didn’t know this at the time, but Ryan had wrote that script for me. And he had tracked down the assistant to my agent’s friend who was
another assistant at the agency and somehow got me the script. And I read it, and
immediately, I was like, oh, man, this is it. It checks all the boxes of
kinda how I’m feeling right now, things that I wanna do. And I met with Ryan and
the first 20 minutes I was like, cool, let’s do it. You know, it wasn’t, at
that time having a choice or deciding not to do
things was really tough. You have so many life situations going on, yo, I really need that check, I could really do this,
I could really do that. And it’s really tough for
actors to make quality decisions when you have those
responsibilities on you. So for me it fit perfectly with what was going on in my life. And yeah, playing Oscar,
I got a chance to say all the things that I was
feeling on the inside, but I got a chance to put it in my work, shining a light on this character. It was definitely difficult for me to, you know, because he’s
obviously passed away, and I didn’t have anybody,
I didn’t have him to talk to or to ask questions. So I had to get to know him through the people that knew him the best. His family, his friends, his daughter, the mother of his child, his mom. And that was my first, yeah, it was an intense first time for me, you know, wearing those clothes and being around those people
and them letting me in. I’m pretty sure a lot of
people were approaching them from Hollywood trying to make movies and they were very standoffish at first. Thank God for “The Wire” ’cause
they were fans of Wallace, so like that helped too. That was kinda like my way in. Oh, Wallace, okay, cool, sure, let’s go. So that definitely helped out a lot with them kinda trusting me. And then it was, yeah, it was, I took a huge, it meant a lot to me. You know, I put a lot into
that, really doing the homework. – You just mentioned trust there. What was it about Ryan that made you know that you could just trust him implicitly as a creative partner? – Oh, if anybody had
the chance to meet Ryan, he’s unapologetically who he
is, no matter who he’s around. He is very honest, he’s really smart, he asks smart questions, he
has very thoughtful responses. And honestly, if we
would’ve grew up together, he would’ve been one
of my closest friends. We like the same things,
played the same video games, ate the same cereal, you
know, shit like that. It was like he was just
somebody that I was like, man, you’re like a reflection of me, so to speak, but just doing, you know, he was the other piece. You know, I was kind of his muse, he was the director that
I needed at the time and that kinda brotherhood,
that partnership was created. And yeah, it was all of the above. – All right, well I think we should see some of you and Ryan’s work in action. So this is a scene from
“Fruitvale Station” with Melonie Diaz who played Sophina. – Melonie is awesome by the way. (audience applauding) That was actually the
first day of “Fruitvale”. That was the first scene that
we shot of the whole movie, which was intense, just drop
this right up on in there. But that was a cool scene,
that was a cool moment. – I read an interview with
Ryan, he went on record saying that that was the most toughest scene he had to write for the whole movie, he said, was that scene. How was it to act it? Because I mean, there’s
so much going on in there. She’s sort of strips him down as a man, but then brings him back up again, or what she thinks a
man is supposed to be. But how did you and Melonie
work that scene out? – Yeah, a lot off rehearsal,
we had a lot of rehearsal. We had a vibe, we really connected. You know, she had a chance to spend a lot of time with Sophina. You know, I spent a lot
of time with the family and just kinda understanding like, what was really going on
with him at that time. And it was just, you know,
you’re seeing this guy that’s trying to do the
right, he’s trying so hard. He wants to do the right thing, but his reputation, his track record is always kind of being thrown in his face of not being good enough
or not doing enough. And to not have that trust
or to not be believed by somebody you care so much about, that you’re trying to do all this for, like I’m trying to do all this for you and you just, oh, man. It’s just, he felt cornered
with his back against the wall. So to kind of like bring that
frustration to the forefront was a challenge but it was fun. You know, we had a lot of
fun shooting those scenes and yeah, she’s a great scene partner. You know, she listens very well, and we, yeah, we just went after it. So that was the first day we shot. So we were still finding the character and finding our footing,
you know, in these scenes. But it was a good. – By the time you got to the pivotal scene where it all ends for Oscar, how comfortable weer you with
your sort of knowledge of him? How comfortable did you feel as him? ‘Cause you know, considering day one you got this big romantic conflict, you are telling somebody that you support that you’re not really do so great. So by the time you got
to shooting that scene, you know, the scene, essentially,
everyone’s waiting for, how comfortable were you
with him at that point? – Trying to think, when we shot
that, we shot that towards, I think we shot that towards– – It’s all right, I don’t
need the day and the time. – No, no, no, no, no,
I was trying to think of where I wasn’t, because, you know, it was a constant, I was
constantly trying to find this guy. And it wasn’t like one
moment it was, oh, I got him, you know, I don’t have
to do any more work. It was always a constant kind
of like work in progress. But one of the things about that night, we shot at the actual platform
the he was murdered at. We shot like literally, you know, they still had the bullet
hole on the platform and I was laying exactly on top of it. So, you know, when you
bring that into the picture and I remember that morning,
well, that were on nights, so I remember that day going into night, praying to him, just kinda like
asking him to be around me, you know what I’m saying. And just like just be here
in this moment with me so I could just pull from him. Like just give me your essence,
you know what I’m saying. Just be around me when
I’m doing these scenes. And it was a real, it was
an intense, intense night. And, you know, Ryan huddled everybody up. You know he’s an ex-footballer player. You know, we all got together and he just gave this really deep speech and kinda got everybody fired up and we went out and shot it. And it was a, we got what we got. You know, we felt like we
got something really special, that we couldn’t really duplicate. So it was really, really powerful. – Yeah, really right on, important film. (audience applauding) So you guys continue to
work together in “Creed”. And in the interim between
“Fruitvale” and “Creed”, what kind of roles were
you getting offered? I’m really interested by
that just ’cause, you know, people had seen you as
Wallace in “The Wire”, they’d seen you as Oscar and, you know, both of these guys met their fate in not the most positive way. So I was just intrigued
as to what people were– – I mean, honestly, that’s when I really started to play
the game of the industry. That’s when I really
started to like play chess, or have the ability to play chess. So I don’t think I worked, I
don’t think I did anything, I think I just, I waited, because right before we actually
shot “Fruitvale Station”, Ryan pitched to me “Creed”. We didn’t even shoot “Fruitvale” yet, and he was like, hey, man, I got this idea about Apollo Creed’s son. Would you wanna play him? And I was like, cool, let’s do it. You know, I didn’t even,
that was the pitch. There was nothing else to it,
I was like, okay, let’s do it. And he was, during casting, he was going back and forth to MGM and Sly’s agent, you know. And politicking, trying to convince Sly, ’cause you know, he took
some convincing for him to– – I need a Sylvester Stallone
impression now, I feel. – Who me, no, I’m the worst at that. I’m horrible at impressions,
really, really bad. No, but he took some convincing to wanna bring Rocky back to the screen. And obviously, Ryan did as
much work on him as we could, everybody, I think, his wife
played a real pivotal role in him taking that role. And obviously, he wanted to wait to see how “Fruitvale” came out, you know, to kinda really
trust Ryan with the project. So yeah, in the, so
just knowing that I had, what was right, oh yeah, “Fantastic Four”, that was that, okay. – Yeah.
(audience laughing) Look.
– Y’all, hey, listen, okay. – Listen.
– It was a great– – Sometimes we have wins,
sometimes we have not so wins. – It was, on paper, it
was the thing to do. Okay.
– There we go. And you broke boundaries
playing that character still. – And honestly, I would do it again. If I had another crack at it,
I would honestly do it again, because like representation
is really important and it was something that, you
know, just having a character that was traditionally played
on way for a really long time, just to kinda like play that character, yeah, that was a win for me. I was humbled, it was
a good moment for me. I was like, yeah, they all not gonna be glitter and gold, it’s not gonna happen. But, yeah, so I think that was the one project that I
did right before “Creed”. I don’t think I did anything else, I was blessed I think to be, I wanna say, maybe I had an endorsement
or two at some scale that allowed me to not work. And then I knew I had “Creed” in the clip, that was coming up pretty soon. So I was like, all right,
I’mma knock out this project. Did “Fantastic Four”
and then right after it I met my trainer which took
me to another level also, ’cause I knew I was gonna
be playing this boxer and I didn’t really know how I was gonna be getting in shape. Excuse me.
– I know there’s lots of fans of your trainer in here. – Oh, yeah, I mean, Corey’s the man, he’s around here somewhere. Where you at Co? Oh, there he go, there, he back there. – Excellent work, sir, excellent work. – Yeah, Corey in there.
(audience applauding) Nah, so I met him down in Louisiana and yeah, we became really tight and then we rolled right into “Creed”. – And how exciting was it for you to just have carte
blanche of the character that nobody had ever seen before but also with that ready-made fan base from the “Rocky” franchise? – Again, it was one of those things that I can’t take credit for, it was just, it was another step on my path. And it was the perfect kinda combination of gaining all these “Rocky” fans that love that world and love Apollo Creed but then, not making a “Rocky” film, making a “Creed” movie and starting a whole new franchise for the culture, I think, was really important. And you know, to have Ryan, a director that I really trusted, that we already had that shorthand with, it made shooting that movie
that much easier for me, in a sense of just communication. You know, we really
levelled up on that one. And yeah, it took me another level. – Well, I reckon we should have a look. Could we just check out the
first “Creed” clip, please? Michael B. Jordan and Miss Tessa Thompson. (audience applauding)
Tessa Thompson’s got a fantastic nickname for you, she calls you Michael Be Acting. (laughing)
I’ve seen her call you that in lots of interviews, and obviously, an incredible scene partner
in Sylvester Stallone. How did you manage to this sort of warmth and growth of
the characters with you considering that you had
a different director, ’cause obviously, Steven
Caple did the second movie, we had Ryan Coogler on the first. But how did you kind of manage to maintain those relationships? – I think having another
incredible director who respected what we started. You know, he didn’t come in
and try to reinvent the wheel. He knew that we had a pretty
good handle on these characters and he allowed us to express
what we needed to express. And he just wanted to kinda, I guess, bottle that and direct it within the story and yeah, he just, he joined the family. It wasn’t like he came in
and tried to just start over. So, you know, Steven is
an incredible director and yeah, we were very fortunate to work with him on that one. – And definitely levelled
up, ’cause I think, you know, as movie a goer, as a
sort of cultural observer like we all are, I think
that’s when a lot of us I think noticed people
speaking of you as an actor, as well as a movie star. Movie star started being a word that people were giving to— – Throwing out. – Well, yeah, and also Time Magazine said that you were redefining
what a movie star is because you went on to
another big franchise. So we need to talk about
the Marvel Universe and we’ve got to talk about you– – Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– As Erik Killmonger (audience cheering)
(chuckling) in “Black Panther”. Would you say he is the
unsung hero of the movie? (audience laughing) Because I think one of
the fantastic things about the film is that,
Erik’s got a lot to say. He’s got a lot of monologues, especially about the black
experience in America, which is quite reflective
of what it is in the UK. Do you think he is unsung, do you think he was misunderstood? – Yeah, I mean,
definitely, yeah, for sure. I wouldn’t call him the villain, I would look at him as the
antagonist in the movie. And he was a part of a conversation, he was a side of the conversation that you don’t often see on screen, especially not in a Marvel
film, on that scale. You know, T’Challa had
one side of the argument and he was right in how he felt and his upbringing and knowing who he was and knowing where he came from. But there’s so many of us that’s
part of that black diaspora that doesn’t, you know, from the US, that I kinda looked at as
the lost tribe of Africa. And that not knowing where they come from, not really having any deep cultural roots and what that can do to somebody
under systemic oppression. And what that can create. And to be able to have that
smart dialogue on screen packaged in a Marvel film, I think, allowed a lot of people to
take that information in without turning their ears off. And being able to understand what that experience could’ve been like and what systematically that can do. I think it was, you
know, I think it started to bridge the gap between
Africa and the United States. I think there’s a lot of old traditions and stereotypes and stigmas
of us not being really African and you not really black
and all that other shit that kinda has been floating
around for a really long time. – Speak on it Michael B. Jordan. – I think it’s something,
it started a conversation that I think I needed to have. And then a lot of young people are reaching out on both sides, like, I’m going to Ghana for New Year’s. – That’s my people.
– Yeah, yeah, I’m going, yeah. – I told you he was Ghanage. (laughing) – For the year of the return, you know. And I’m going there and
I know a lot of people, a lot of brothers and sisters
from Hollywood and from the US are trying to make that trip also. So, I don’t think that would,
I’m not saying the movie is, it’s just because of this film, but I think it was a huge
step in getting people to look at Africa
different and really want to be a part of home. So, it was good.
– It was more than a movie. It was like a movement of
sorts, “Black Panther”. – It was, it was, I mean, you know, whenever you could get
a studio like Marvel to be first money in to back this message, to put it around the world, to put it in it’s spiderweb of films, you know, that people are gonna go see. Regardless of whether you had a deep “Black Panther” connection, you wanna see how everything ties in. So a lot of people that
I don’t think maybe, they didn’t get what they
thought they were gonna get when they left the movie theatre. And I think that’s the power, again, of cinema and story telling. And yeah, bringing a different perspective to things that they think they knew. – Well, let’s see one of those famous Erik Killmonger monologues, here we go. (audience applauding)
You know what? That is exactly why I chose that clip for that line right there. (laughing) Hey, auntie. The mutual disrespect, to
respect shown in that line, chest kiss, chest kiss. Tempted to keep the hair?
– Huh? – Tempted to keep the hair? – Yeah, yeah, I did, I get my braids back, it was pretty cool. Shout out to Jo, my barber out there, he responsible for that cut. Jo killed that one. No, it was cool, like me
and Ryan wanted figure out what, you know, being from Oakland, you know, having Erik form Oakland, we wanted to figure out
what a style he could rock. You know, there’s a lot of locs out there. What would kids or what could we influence when the movie came out? What would they wanna wear and
we ended up with that look. – And that look just fed
and incredible performance. I think, you know, even watching it and everything that your
character says in it, like you think, well,
yeah, he’s not really lying.
– Wrong, yeah, he’s got an argument, he just kinda
had a different approach due to his upbringing and the kinda things that he went through. It’s just like, look, this is, he’s kinda been around colonisers and know how they think
and know how they move. And it’s like he only sees one end to, one way to get liberation to be able to stand on their
own ones and twos over there. So that was his approach
to the conversation. – Not a bad guy, just an alternative hero. – Just an alternative hero, I like that, I’m going with that one.
– There we go. I wanna talk about the
final character today, I’m really going, we’re
running out of time. But Bryan Stevenson, “Just Mercy”, an incredible movie based on
the book of the same title which you guys can all
watch in this very cinema next week Wednesday. A guy who is really in your life now, somebody that you consider a friend. – Yeah. – How was it interpreting
somebody who’s still alive that you know, but also trying to put your own artistic stamp on him? – You know, I thought
it was gonna be like, oh, man, this is gonna be a lot easier because I got the guy here,
I can just hit him up. But it was so much pressure,
it was actually the opposite. I think it was a lot harder
because once you know who Bryan Stevenson is
and you get a chance to spend time with and talk with him and understand the work that he’s doing, you’re like, man, this
guy is damn near perfect. Nobody’s perfect, but he’s close. You know, what he stands for. And just him, he’s so humble,
he has this amazing heart. He wants to do the right thing and help these people who
are wrongfully convicted and really defend the poor and the condemned and the disfavored. He’s a really special person and I feel honoured to be
able to tell his story. And yeah, it’s not work, honestly. Like, being able to talk about him and promote his movie, it’s a privilege. – And produced by your company as well. – It is, it is.
– How exciting. (audience applauding) – That’s really exciting for me also, just trying to grow across the board and be able to tell stories
that are a reflection of the world that we live in, is really important to me too. – Well, let’s check it out, this is a really incredible
scene from the movie. So for context, Bryan is a lawyer who helps out people who are on death row. Just to, well, how would
you describe Bryan? – I mean, I would describe Bryan as, you know, he is a defence attorney who started the EJI, was the
Equal Justice Initiative. And they basically,
you know, they set out, their mission is to get
wrongly convicted people on death row exonerated through
the biassed judicial system that we have in the United States. And yeah, he’s dedicated
his life to the cause. And this was a few of
the cases that he’s had, the most impactful cases that he’s had that he has in his book “Just Mercy”. So we did a, it was a really tedious job of picking the cases to
really craft a full story and yeah give a 360 view of what he does. – Well, let’s check it out, this is you, Jamie Foxx and quite a
few others in a really– – Brie Larson.
– Poignant scene. – Captain Marvel. (audience whooping) – So this film, as we mentioned, was produced by your company and you are, I guess, one of the leaders in industry where you are making sure
that your whole cast, your whole crew is as
inclusive as possible. How powerful does it make you feel– (audience applauding)
Yeah, it’s fantastic. How powerful does it make you feel to have that agency, specifically
over stories like this, where we are so used to sort of seeing black trauma sort of like commodified a lot for popcorn flicks? And that’s definitely not happening here. – No, I mean, for me, you know, a couple of Oscars ago
when Frances McDormand gave that incredible speech and brought up the inclusion rider, I was in the audience and I was like, wow, okay, cool, there’s something in writing I can kinda put into place
to ensure cast and crew is a reflection of the
world that I live in and diverse of all mediums
and overlooked mediums. You know, I immediately
ran it up the flag pole with people in my company
and my team or whatever. And the first project that
we had up was “Just Mercy”. And I’m fortunate enough to
have an incredible partner in Warner Brothers who embraced it. They ran towards it, they asked for us to kind of work hand in hand to figure out how to write their policy, their inclusion policy for Warner Media. So now, all of Warner Media,
all of their companies follow this mandate and it’s a step. You know, that’s how they hire now. And I think having, arguably,
the best studio in the world back that message, hopefully
that sets a precedence for other production companies for other studios that will
wanna take the initiative also and include that policy in the
way they do business as well. And that’s a step, you
know, I think we’re moving in the right direction,
we have a long way to go. And I think this is a step to ensure fairness amongst creatives. Yeah, I’m extremely proud of this project for a lot of reasons and
that’s definitely one of them. – Well, I’m so happy that
you feel that way, of course, because we want to see
ourselves reflected in screen. And I think that you kinda answered my final question which was, what do you want to see more of behind and in front of the camera? What do you want from Hollywood right now? Which I know is a very big question. – I want it all, I want it all. – Yeah (chuckles). – No, I think, you know, nothing is
perfect, everything has to, it’s what speaks to you. Pick an issue and get behind
it and try to see change. For me, inclusion, it’s not even, it’s something I was
naturally gonna do anyway. I think being black and not always having a fair shake at things and being excluded from
a lot of situations, when I get a chance to have to power, have the ability, have the platform to invite other people that
look and sound like me. Or you’re from different groups that aren’t represented
as well in the workspace. That’s something that
I was gonna do anyway. So to be able to put
something formally in writing was the big takeaway. And I think Hollywood,
it’s a reactive industry. It’s a business, that
people have to remember. This is a money making machine. It’s just things that
has profit and losses that companies and shareholders, it’s a bigger thing than
what’s fair all the time. So I think if you could find the way to connect all those dots, you know. It’s something that’s constantly
having to be worked at and constantly rearranged and adjusted. But I like to think of
myself as a problem solver, so I enjoy trying to find those ways to get everybody on the same page. So to be able to do that
this time in my life, you know, I got the energy and the effort and youth on my side,
I’mma keep knocking down those doors as best I can. – Michael B. Jordan, please do. – Yeah, yeah.
(audience applauding) – And on that note, we’d love to see it. – Yeah, I appreciate it. – And thank you so very much,
everybody, Michael B. Jordan. (audience applauding) – Thank you guys.

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