Michael B. Jordan sees his upcoming “Creed III” directorial debut as more than a chance to show off his behind-the-camera skills, but a chance to take his talents in a new direction and impact the next decade or more of his career.
The 34-year-old star hopes to make a mark on both sides of the camera in the third installment of the “Rocky” spinoff franchise that stars himself, Tessa Thompson, and Phylicia Rashad. While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Jordan expressed his hopes to put the “experience and knowledge” he’s picked up throughout his years in Hollywood to the test.
“My ambition has intersected at this moment where I have the experience and knowledge to direct, the opportunity within a franchise to step behind the camera and [the ability] to maximize it by having a production company,” he said. “It’s my turn to make my impact while I have the energy and strength. I’ve got to tee up the ones that come after but at the same time hyper-focus on what needs to be done right now. It’s the moment I’ve waited for my entire life. This is it. This can dictate the next 10, 15, 20 years.”
When his role as star and director was announced in May, Jordan felt the timing was right for him to take on dual responsibilities. “Directing has always been an aspiration, but the timing had to be right,” Jordan previously said in a statement. “‘Creed III’ is that moment — a time in my life where I’ve grown more sure of who I am, holding agency in my own story, maturing personally, growing professionally, and learning from the greats like Ryan Coogler, most recently Denzel Washington, and other top-tier directors I respect. All of which sets the table for this moment.”
Jordan was able to watch and learn from another leading man who decided to take a seat in the director’s chair, Denzel Washington, who helmed the upcoming romantic drama “A Journal for Jordan,” which stars Jordan opposite Chanté Adams. “Denzel perfected ‘leading man.’ He was like, ‘I’m going to f*****g dominate this one thing and master it’ — the specificity of that got him to the point where he is universal and can do anything,” the “Black Panther” actor said.
The lessons seem to have left their mark on him because in a chat with Entertainment Weekly, he compared working with Washington to receiving a “master class.”
“Being directed by Denzel, it’s like you had a master class at everything. He shows up every day to work to give it his all,” stated Jordan. “He leaves with nothing in the tank, so you’ve got to match that energy and that drive. So it definitely pushed me to do more,” said Jordan. “That was an incredible experience…. It raised my game in a lot of ways, so I’m extremely grateful for that process.”
The Washington-Jordan parallel has been drawn multiple times as the “Just Mercy” star’s career has continued to evolve, but another actor that he’s taken notes on is none other than “The Fresh Prince,” Will Smith. “Will [Smith] took an enterprise approach, and that’s something I connect with,” said Jordan. “He says all the time that he doesn’t feel like he’s the most talented, but he works the hardest. It’s work ethic, big vision, marketability.”
“Creed III” is scheduled to hit theaters on Nov. 23, 2022, but fans won’t have to wait as long to see Washington and Jordan team up in “A Journal for Jordan,” which heads to theaters on Christmas Day.
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