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.”

The Very Real Events That Inspired Game of Thrones's Red Wedding

Peter Graham's After the Massacre of Glencoe
Peter Graham's After the Massacre of Glencoe
Peter Graham, Google Cultural Institute, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Ask any Game of Thrones fan to cite a few of the show's most shocking moments, and the so-called "Red Wedding" from season 3's "The Rains of Castamere" episode will likely be at the top of their list. The events that unfolded during the episode shocked fans because of their brutality, but what might be even more surprising to know is that the episode was based on very real events.

Author George R.R. Martin has said that the inspiration for the matrimonial bloodbath is based on two dark events in Scottish history: the Black Dinner of 1440 and 1692's Massacre of Glencoe. “No matter how much I make up, there’s stuff in history that’s just as bad, or worse,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly in 2013. And he’s absolutely right. See for yourself.

The Massacre of Glencoe

The West Highland Way in 2005, view from the summit of the Devil's Staircase looking south over the east end of Glen Coe, towards Buachaille Etive Mòr with Creise and Meall a' Bhuiridh beyond
Colin Souza, Edited by Dave Souza, CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikimedia Commons

In 1691, all Scottish clans were called upon to renounce the deposed King of Scotland, James VII, and swear allegiance to King William of Orange (of William and Mary fame). The chief of each clan had until January 1, 1692, to provide a signed document swearing an oath to William. The Highland Clan MacDonald had two things working against them here. First of all, the Secretary of State, John Dalrymple, was a Lowlander who loathed Clan MacDonald. Secondly, Clan MacDonald had already sworn an oath to James VII and had to wait on him to send word that they were free to break that oath.

Unfortunately, it was December 28 before a messenger arrived with this all-important letter from the former king. That gave Maclain, the chief of the MacDonald clan, just three days to get the newly-signed oath to the Secretary of State.

Maclain was detained for days when he went through Inveraray, the town of the rival Clan Campbell, but still managed to deliver the oath, albeit several days late. The Secretary of State’s legal team wasn't interested in late documents. They rejected the MacDonalds's sworn allegiance to William, and set plans in place to cut the clan down, “root and branch.”

In late January or early February, 120 men under the command of Captain Robert Campbell arrived at the MacDonalds's in Glencoe, claiming to need shelter because a nearby fort was full. The MacDonalds offered their hospitality, as was custom, and the soldiers stayed there for nearly two weeks before Captain Drummond arrived with instructions to “put all to the sword under seventy.”

After playing cards with their victims and wishing them goodnight, the soldiers waited until the MacDonalds were asleep ... then murdered as many men as they could manage. In all, 38 people—some still in their beds—were killed. At least 40 women and children escaped, but fleeing into a blizzard blowing outside as their houses burned down meant that they all died of exposure.

The massacre was considered especially awful because it was “Slaughter Under Trust.” To this day, the door at Clachaig Inn in Glen Coe has a sign on the door that says "No hawkers or Campbells."

The Black Dinner

In November of 1440, the newly-appointed 6th Earl of Douglas, who was just 16, and his little brother David, were invited to join the 10-year-old King of Scotland, James II, for dinner at Edinburgh Castle. But it wasn’t the young King who had invited the Douglas brothers. The invitation had been issued by Sir William Crichton, Chancellor of Scotland, who feared that the Black Douglas (there was another clan called the Red Douglas) were growing too powerful.

As legend has it, the children were all getting along marvelously, enjoying food, entertainment and talking until the end of the dinner, when the head of a black bull was dropped on the table, symbolizing the death of the Black Douglas. The two young Douglases were dragged outside, given a mock trial, found guilty of high treason, and beheaded. It’s said that the Earl pleaded for his brother to be killed first so that the younger boy wouldn’t have to witness his older brother’s beheading.

Sir Walter Scott wrote this of the horrific event:

"Edinburgh Castle, toune and towre,
God grant thou sink for sin!
And that e'en for the black dinner
Earl Douglas gat therein."

This article has been updated for 2019.

15 Game of Thrones Products Every Fan Needs

Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Though Game of Thrones might be coming to its official end, that doesn’t mean that your fandom can’t—or won’t—carry on. Whether you’re a years-long defender of House Stark or have been rooting for House Targaryen since the beginning, there’s a candle, collectible pin, coffee mug, card game, and pretty much anything else you can imagine with your name (and preferred sigil) on it.

1. A Song of Ice and Fire Book Series; $46

Bantam's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' book series

Bantam, Amazon

If you’ve never read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series upon which the series is based, plenty more Westerosi drama awaits. And just because you’ve seen every episode of the series 10 times doesn’t mean you know which way the books will turn. (The TV show diverged from their narrative a long time ago—and dozens of the characters who have been killed off on your television screen are still alive and well in the books.) Plus, as Martin has yet to complete the series, you may just catch up in time for the newest book.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Map Marker Wine Stopper Set; $50

Nobody solves a problem like Tyrion Lannister … and his thought process usually includes copious amounts of wine (Dornish if you’ve got it). Something tells us you’re going need some vino yourself to get through the giant, hour-long hole left in your Sunday nights once Game of Thrones officially ends. Make sure you don’t let a drop of it go to waste by keeping one of these six wine stoppers—each one carved to represent the sigil of the most noble houses in the Seven Kingdoms—handy.

Buy it: HBO Shop or BoxLunch

3. Winterfell Coffee Mug; $25

If coffee is more your speed—we get it: the night is dark and full of terrors—this simple-yet-elegant Winterfell mug is an easy way to communicate to your co-workers why you’re typically a little bleary-eyed on Monday mornings.

Buy it: HBO Shop

4. Hodor Door Stop; $12

A 3D-printed Hodor door stop, inspired by 'Game of Thrones'

3D Cauldron, Amazon

An important part of being a Game of Thrones fan is accepting that showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have no problem killing off your favorite characters, often in brutal ways. One of the series’ most memorable deaths was that of Hodor, Bran Stark’s personal mode of transport, who we loved despite the fact that the only word he ever uttered for six seasons was “Hodor”—and who we loved even more when, in the final moments of his life, we learned why that was the case. Pay tribute to the gentle giant, and his backstory, with this 3D-printed door stop.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Tarot Card Deck; $25

A 'Game of Thrones' tarot card deck, from Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books, Amazon

Channel your inner Maggy the Frog and see what the future holds for you and your loved ones (your enemies, too, if the mood strikes you) with Chronicle Books’s gorgeously packaged tarot card deck. The tarot tradition and Game of Thrones mythology blend seamlessly together in this box of goodies, which includes an instruction book and illustrated cards featuring your favorite characters and most beloved scenes from the show.

Buy it: Amazon or Chronicle Books

6. Fire and Blood Candle; $12

Mad Queen or not, show that you still stand behind the Mother of Dragons by filling your home with this House Targaryen-inspired votive candle. Best of all: Just wait to see the look on the faces of your guests when they ask “Mmmm … what’s that smell?” If you’d prefer not to answer with “fire and blood—doesn’t it smell delicious?,” there are other scents available: one called "Moon of My Life My Sun and Stars," another called "Be a Dragon," and one inspired by the Iron Throne itself (which must smell like victory).

Buy it: HBO Shop

7. Clue: Game of Thrones; $50

Margaery Tyrell with the battle axe in Cersei’s bedchambers. Rewrite the rules—and brutal deaths—of Game of Thrones with this special edition of the classic board game, which tasks you with figuring out who murdered whom, using what weapon, and where the incident took place. A double-sided playing board lets you choose whether you want to set the game in The Red Keep or Meereen.

Buy it: HBO Shop or BoxLunch

8. Game of Thrones Monopoly; $24

'Game of Thrones Monopoly' game board

Hasbro, Amazon

Who wants to be the Lord or Lady of Winterfell when you can become the preeminent real estate mogul of all the Seven Kingdoms? This special-edition Monopoly board puts a distinctly Westerosian twist on the classic game, with silver tokens to represent the sigils of each of the main houses and a card holder that plays the series’ haunting score whenever you press it.

Buy it: Amazon or Best Buy

9. House Stark Hoodie; $60

If you really wanted to dress like a Stark, you’d have a master blacksmith on hand to help customize your armor—or at least turn your IKEA rug into a luxurious cape. If you’re far less crafty, there’s always this full-zip hoodie featuring an embroidered direwolf on the front and an outlined illustration of the same on the back. The minimalist design is a way to show your fandom in a way that, to the untrained eye, might just look like you’re a fan of wolves. But the rest of us will know better. And approve.

Buy it: ThinkGeek

10. Deluxe Iron Throne Funko Pop! Set; $130

Funko's Iron Throne Pop! set of five

Funko, HBO Shop

Though it seems unlikely that a few of these characters will ever sit on the Iron Throne (either because they’re dead or have gone mad), a fan can always hope. And buying them as part of this five-piece set is an easy way to collect them all. If you don’t see your favorite character here, Amazon has got plenty more squat-headed figures to choose from, including Arya, Brienne of Tarth, Rhaegal (poor Rhaegal), and Ghost (poor Ghost). If you ever happen upon a headless Ned Stark Pop!, grab it; this hard-to-find figure can sell for more than $2000 on eBay.

Buy it: HBO Shop

11. Iron Throne Bookend; $60

After devoting more than eight years of your life to seeing Game of Thrones all the way through, maybe it’s you who deserves the Iron Throne. You can’t sit on this 7.5-inch replica, the base of which features sigils from all the noble houses, but you can show off your fancy George R.R. Martin book collection … or all that dragon fan fiction you’ve been working on.

Buy it: Best Buy or the HBO Shop

12. Game of Thrones Music Box; $13

'Game of Thrones' music box

Shenzhen Youtang Trade Co., Amazon

Channel your inner Arya by psyching yourself up with the iconic Game of Thrones theme song whenever you feel the need to hear it with this hand-cranked music box.

Buy it: Amazon

13. Iron Throne Tankard; $70

Show your guests who's boss at your next dinner party—or raucous feast—as you take your place at the head of the table and guzzle your mead (or giant's milk—we don't judge) from this Iron Throne-themed tankard, completed with sword handle.

Buy it: HBO Shop

14. Game of Thrones Socks; $8

It gets cold in the North. Keep your tootsies warm with this six-pack of stylish ankle-cut socks.

Buy it: Target

15. Living Language Dothraki; $16

A copy of the Living Language Dothraki language course

Living Language, Amazon

By now, you've surely learned at least a handful of common Dothraki words and phrases. But if you wan to become fluent in the (fictional) language, this language course is one way to do it. Now: Finne zhavvorsa anni?

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER