10 Fascinating Facts About Michael B. Jordan

Barry Wetcher, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Barry Wetcher, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Since making his acting debut in an episode of The Sopranos in 1999 and breaking out as Wallace, a guilt-ridden drug dealer in The Wire, in 2002, Michael B. Jordan has gone on to star in several Ryan Coogler-helmed films, including Black Panther, Fruitvale Station, and Creed.

Jordan has proven his versatility as an actor in dramas as well as comedies, such as That Awkward Moment, and even TV soaps, like All My Children. The 31-year-old actor has made it clear that he’s here to stay, and we’re not complaining. Here are 10 things you might not have known about the Creed II star.

1. The “B” stands for Bakari.

Michael B. Jordan was named after his father, Michael A. Jordan, and although he has no plan to continue the tradition should he have a son, his middle initial is pretty cool. The “B” stands for Bakari, which means “of noble promise” in Swahili.

2. He had no intention of becoming an actor.

Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther (2018)
Disney/Marvel Studios

Although Jordan is one of the biggest names in Hollywood today, he didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming an actor. While leaving a doctor’s appointment one day, he and his mother met someone whose own kids were doing some modeling, which gave Jordan’s mom an idea. She took him to an audition, and he quickly booked a commercial. Then another. He did a bit of modeling, too, appearing in advertisements for companies such as Modell’s Sporting Goods and Toys ‘R’ Us. Those gigs led to a small role on The Sopranos, which is when Jordan started thinking bigger.

"I kinda got into it, and it just sort of elevated,” he told Inside Jersey. “It wasn't something that I always wanted to do. But like a lot of kids, you know, I didn't know what I wanted to be. And modeling, acting, it got me out of school early, got me a chance to go into the city, so I was all into that.”

3. He credits much of his success to luck.

Though it would be hard to reach the level of success Jordan has without talent, he believes that it has a lot to do with luck as well. When discussing a rash of upcoming projects (including Fantastic Four and Creed) with Inside Jersey in 2015, the actor—who grew up in Newark—credited much of his success to being in the right place at the right time.

“I wish I could take credit for a lot of it, but the roles that were in front of me were in front of me,” Jordan said. “I've just somehow managed to string together this career that's allowed me to push forward and grow. A lot of it's luck—but I know it's up to me to make the right decisions.”

4. People still want to talk to him about The Wire.

J.D. Williams and Michael B. Jordan in 'The Wire'
HBO

In 2002, Jordan landed a plum part in The Wire, playing a 16-year-old drug dealer named Wallace who struggles with the violence and other harsh realities that come with his occupation. Though—*spoiler alert*—Jordan didn’t make it to season two, his character made a powerful impact. “Wallace was the heart of the show,” Jordan said in All the Pieces Matter, Jonathan Abrams’s oral history of the series, which was released earlier this year.

“To see that end so viciously with his two boys, his two best friends … That death scene is something people always come up to me and talk about and say how they were crying and how much it affected them,” Jordan continued. “Years later. It’s just a testament to the writing and the crazy performance. It was awesome.”

5. He asked his mom to stay away on his final day of filming The Wire.

As Jordan was still a teen while filming The Wire, his mom was often there on set with him on shooting days. In speaking with Abrams, he recalled how he asked his mom not to come to his final day of filming—as he knew that it was going to be an emotionally taxing day. He told Abrams:

“I kind of knew it was coming. Especially when you get that knock on your trailer door from David Simon. I’ll never forget it. He said ‘I love you. The audience loves you. We’ve got to kill you. We’ve got to kill you off.’ I remember telling my mom not to show up on set that day. My mom gets extremely emotional, and this was kind of too much. I didn’t want her to see it. It was a long time to shoot that shot. We definitely overshot that for sure. I remember them having to duct-tape the windows, so the lights wouldn’t go through, because we were going so late into the night, to the morning. But it was really quiet. The crew knew.

Everybody showed up. Even if they weren’t working, they kind of showed up on set. I know Andre Royo did, for sure. He was definitely a mentor of mine on that show. He showed up to help me get into the mindset and really talk me through it. I remember getting the squib under my shirt. They had a tube running down my leg with warm water for when he peed himself, when he got scared and sh**. Me and J.D. Williams, who played Bodie, we’re both from Newark, New Jersey, and we both spent a lot of time on that show together, and I learned a lot from him over that show. We was just talking to each other, and then [when we started shooting the scene] it was like I didn’t even know him.”

6. He was considered for two Marvel roles before he was cast in Fantastic Four.

Michael B. Jordan and Kate Mara in 'Fantastic Four' (2015)
Ben Rothstein, Marvel Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Although 2015’s Fantastic Four was a complete flop, Jordan thankfully got another chance to act in a Marvel film, scoring the role of Eric Killmonger in Black Panther. But before all of that, the actor was considered for the role of Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), which ultimately went to his Chronicle co-star Dane DeHaan, and for Sam Wilson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), a role that went to Anthony Mackie. It was clearly fate for Jordan to be in a superhero film ... or two.

7. he NEARLY quit acting.

In a recent cover story interview with Vanity Fair, Jordan recalled how he struggled after moving to Los Angeles and came very close to quitting the acting game altogether. “I remember when I first came to L.A., and me and my mom, we went to all these agencies trying to get representation and they passed on me,” Jordan recalled. "WME passed on me, CAA passed on me, Gersh, all these guys f***ing passed on me.” Jordan came close to calling it a day on his acting career altogether, but then he bumped into Andre Royo—who played Bubbles on The Wire—at a party, who helped him look at his situation from a different perspective.

“He was stressed out,” Royo said. “He was like, ‘Yo, I’m not working enough, sh*t is crazy, I think I’m going to go back to New York.’ And he was really on some ‘boo-hoo’ sh*t. And I was like, ‘Yo dog, are you kidding me right now? You in your early 20s and you’re around motherf***ers trying to feed families who ain’t working. Snap out of it.’”

Fortunately, Jordan listened.

8. He lives with his parents.

While it might seem like an adult living with their parents would be due to financial problems, it’s kind of the opposite for Jordan. While on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the actor explained how it was always his dream to buy his parents a home. In 2015, he fulfilled that, purchasing a mansion in Los Angeles for the whole family to live in.

9. He’s obsessed with comics and anime.

In a feature on Jordan from DuJour, he was described as a “closeted nerd,” as he told the publication he spends his free time collecting graphic novels and watching anime. He also uses social media to talk about both subjects, and has called anime his “guilty pleasure,” though he backtracked and jokingly changed it to "women" instead.

10. He plans to become a "one-man movie studio."

Like many actors before him, Jordan knows that the best way to shape his future in Hollywood is to secure a place behind the camera as well as in front of it. As such, he has started producing some of his own work—he served as an executive producer on both Fahrenheit 451 and Creed II—and has plans to take his behind-the-scenes work even further.

“I want to create projects for Brad Pitt, but at the same time I want to be able to create a movie for Will Smith, or Denzel, or Lupita, or Tessa,” Jordan told Vanity Fair. “It’s gonna be eclectic. It’s gonna be animation. It’s gonna be non-scripted. It’s gonna be digital. It’s gonna be film, television. It’s gonna be video games.”

Kit Harington Reveals Which Harry Potter Character He'd Want to Play in a Prequel

Kit Harington is clearly drawn to dark, brooding characters.

Winter is Coming reports that Harington, who is best known for his role as Jon Snow in the hard-hitting HBO series Game of Thrones, spoke on a panel at ACE Comic Con this past weekend. Though he was there to discuss his upcoming role as Dane Whitman, a.k.a. Black Knight, in the upcoming Marvel Studios film The Eternals, his involvement in—and love for—other franchises came up during the conversation.

The moderator of the panel surprised the audience by bringing up Harington’s love for the Harry Potter series, and, of course, asked him which Hogwarts house he aligns with. The 32-year-old actor responded, “I am a Gryffindor. I’ve thought very deeply about it.” Though Harington himself identifies with the lion-hearted, he does believe that Jon Snow would be a Hufflepuff because of his undying loyalty.

Harington was then asked which character he would want to play in a hypothetical Harry Potter prequel movie about the Marauders—a group of Gryffindors that included James Potter (Harry’s dad), Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, who attended Hogwarts a generation before Harry and his friends. And who were often at odds with Slytherin Severus Snape.

Harington's response was immediate, and enthusiastic:

Severus Snape is the most tragic, wonderful, brilliant [character] ... He’s a character you hate, and then end up loving. He’s just phenomenal. I don’t think I’m right for him, so I’ll play Sirius. But, whoever gets to play Snape, that’s a great character.”

[h/t Winter Is Coming]

Disney's 10 Scariest Movies

Lynn-Holly Johnson, Bette Davis, and Kyle Richards in The Watcher in the Woods (1980).
Lynn-Holly Johnson, Bette Davis, and Kyle Richards in The Watcher in the Woods (1980).
Walt Disney Pictures

Disney: Known for catchy songs, cute animal sidekicks, brave Princesses … and occasionally scarring children for life. A lot of Disney’s more famously upsetting moments have to do with deathBambi’s mother and Mufasa’s father, for instance—but sometimes the studio goes plain horror movie with it. As Halloween approaches, here are 10 of Disney’s scariest movies.

1. Return to Oz (1985)

Return Oz establishes its “wait, what the hell am I watching?” cred early on, when Dorothy Gale—back in Kansas following her adventures in Oz—is shipped off to the doctor for a round of electroshock therapy to cure her insomnia and “delusions.” Dorothy is saved from her One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest fate and whisked off to Oz again, where she finds that the Nome King and Princess Mombi—Nicol Williamson and Jean Marsh, who also played the doctor and head nurse—have destroyed the Emerald City and turned most of its inhabitants to stone. Playing Dorothy in her first feature film role is Fairuza Balk, who would go on to star in perpetual Halloween favorite The Craft. Return to Oz is the only film directed by legendary editor Walter Murch, most famous for his work on Apocalypse Now.

2. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

The collected works of Ray Bradbury have been adapted into dozens of films, only a handful of which were written by the late author himself. The final feature film to be written by Bradbury is 1983’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, which in its first act is a typical, sweet—if somewhat dark—drama about two young boys growing up in a small town in the Midwest. Then a carnival rolls into town, and things get real messed up. Running the carnival is Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce), who grants the townspeople’s wishes in ways that … well, let’s just say they’re not very nice.

3. Mr. Boogedy (1986)

“Made-for-TV ‘80s movie about a gag gift salesman and his family” doesn’t scream terror, but Mr. Boogedy defies the odds to have some legitimately creepy moments. Granted, it’s not a subtle film: a family that moves into a dilapidated mansion in a town called called Lucifer Falls shouldn’t really expect to have an easy go of things. The mansion, believe it or not, is haunted by not one but three spirits: a widow, her child, and the eponymous Mr. Boogedy, who back in Colonial times sold his soul to Satan for a cloak that gives him magical powers. It’s Mr. Boogedy’s character design that gives the movie its biggest ick factor; the film’s makeup designer, Rick Stratton, would go on to win two Emmys. Mr. Boogedy’s cloak is eventually sucked into a possessed vacuum cleaner.

4. The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

Director John Hough’s The Watcher in the Woods isn’t only scary because it gives Bette Davis and current Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star (and then-child actress) Kyle Richards a decent chunk of shared screen time. Based on a 1976 novel, the film—like Mr. Boogedy—follows a family that moves into a mysterious house haunted by some mysterious presence. In The Watcher in the Woods, that presence is thought to be Karen, the long-disappeared daughter of the house’s owner, played by a collecting-those-paychecks Davis. Spoiler alert: There are actually two presences. One is Karen. The other is an alien. The original ending of The Watcher in the Woods actually showed the alien, but the effects were so bad that the premiere audience broke out laughing, causing Hough to reshoot the climactic final scene with the aliens as a vague blur of light.

5. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

Released in 1949, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is made up of two half-hour, kid-friendly literary adaptations, the first from The Wind in the Willows and the second from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Neither segment is particularly scary … up until the last few minutes of “Sleepy Hollow,” when the animators went all-out to make schoolteacher Ichabod Crane’s flight from the Headless Horseman a contender for Disney’s scariest scene. Clyde Geronimi, who with Jack Kinney directed the “Sleepy Hollow” sequence, would go on to co-direct Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and 101 Dalmatians.

6. Pinocchio (1940)

Jiminy Cricket hopping around and The Blue Fairy singing “When You Wish Upon a Star” might be the most enduring images from Disney’s second-ever animated feature, but let’s not forget that Pinocchio could be scary when it needed to be. The film’s most potent bit of nightmare fuel comes in the scene where a bunch of children are magically transformed into terrified, crying donkeys so they could be sold away as slave labor. Looks like Disney had a taste for causing childhood trauma early on.

7. “The Skeleton Dance” (1929)

Spooky and cute: Why not both? The 1929 short “The Skeleton Dance” threads the needle deftly, with its depiction of a quartet of skeletons dancing around a graveyard maintaining the goofy tone that marks most of the early Disney shorts while still providing an ample dose of the shivers. “The Skeleton Dance” was drawn by Ub Iwerks, who several years earlier had designed Mickey Mouse.

8. Fantasia (1940)

Most of the segments in Disney’s Fantasia are markedly un-creepy—unless you consider ballet-dancing hippos disturbing, which makes a fair amount of sense—but with “Night on Bald Mountain,” Disney went full dark and stormy night. Set to the title song by composer Modest Mussorgsky, the film depicts the ancient Slavic deity Chernabog (whose name means “black god) calling all sorts of assorted demonic creatures to him before being driven away by the rising of the sun. Bela Lugosi served as a live-action reference for Chernabog, spending a day at Disney Studios striking a series of ominous poses. Nothing that Lugosi provided was ultimately used, as animator Bill Tylta was unimpressed by it.

9. The Black Cauldron (1985)

The Black Cauldron was an infamous failure for Disney, earning a mere $20 million domestically against a budget that made it, at the time, "the most expensive animated feature ever made.” With the film, Disney ditched the songs and lighthearted feel that marked its animated features up to that point in favor of a darker fantasy epic; notably, The Black Cauldron was the first Disney animated feature to earn a PG rating. Though it’s notoriously regarded as a flop, there’s one area in which The Black Cauldron is quite successful: making its villain, the Horned King, absolutely terrifying. Even the way he dies is nightmare-inducing: The magical black cauldron that the Horned King hoped would give him power to take over the world with an undead army instead melts his flesh off. It’s a bit more gruesome than the typically death-by-falling most Disney villains get.

10. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Initially released in 1993 to middling box office returns (Disney made the odd choice to release this Halloween-themed movie in July), director Kenny Ortega’s Hocus Pocus has gone on to achieve cult status. Omri Katz, since retired from acting, stars as Max Dennison, who with neighbor Allison and younger sister Dani must defeat the Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches who were hanged during the Salem witch trials. One of the witches was played by Sarah Jessica Parker, whose ancestor Esther Elwell was accused of being a witch in 17th-century Salem; she escaped execution when prosecution from witchcraft was done away with.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER