Movie Stars: Jordan, Michael B.–Charismatic Actor for Our Troubled Times

Michael Bakari Jordan (born February 9, 1987), an American actor and producer, is known for his film roles as shooting victim Oscar Grant in the drama Fruitvale Station (2013), boxer Donnie Creed in Creed (2015), and Erik Killmonger in Black Panther (2018), all three of which were directed by Ryan Coogler.

Michael B. Jordan
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Jordan at the 2018 Cannes Film Fest

Jordan reprised the role of Creed in Creed II (2018), and is set to star, and make his directorial debut, in Creed III (2022).

Jordan’s initially broke out in television roles; including Wallace in first season of the HBO crime drama series The Wire (2002); Reggie Montgomery on the ABC soap opera All My Children (2003-2006) and Vince Howard in the NBC sports drama series Friday Night Lights (2009–2011). His other film performances include Red Tails (2012), Chronicle (2012), That Awkward Moment (2014), Fantastic Four (2015) and Just Mercy (2019), where he portrayed Bryan Stevenson.

In 2020, Jordan was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, as well as People’s Sexiest Man Alive.

In the same year, The New York Times ranked him #15 on its list of the 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century.

Michael Bakari Jordan was born on February 9, 1987, in Santa Ana, California, to Donna and Michael A. Jordan. He has a sister, Jamila, and a younger brother, Khalid, who in 2010 signed to be a football player at Howard University.

Jordan’s family spent two years in California before moving to Newark, New Jersey. He attended Newark Arts High School, where his mother works, and where he played basketball.

Jordan worked as a child model for several companies and brands, including Modell’s sporting goods and Toys “R” Us, before deciding to embark on a career as an actor.

He launched his career as a professional actor in 1999, when he appeared briefly in single episodes of the television series Cosby and The Sopranos.

His first principal film role followed in 2001 when he was featured in Hardball, which starred Keanu Reeves.

In 2002, he gained more attention by playing the small but pivotal role of Wallace in the first season of HBO’s The Wire.

In March 2003, he joined the cast of All My Children, replacing Chadwick Boseman, playing Reggie Montgomery, a troubled teenager, until June 2006 when Jordan was released from his contract.

Jordan’s other credits include guest starring appearances on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,[18] Without a Trace and Cold Case. Thereafter, he had a lead role in the independent film Blackout and starred in The Assistants on The-N. In 2008, Jordan appeared in the music video “Did You Wrong” by R&B artist Pleasure P.

Friday Night Lights and Parenthood

In 2009, Jordan began starring in the NBC drama Friday Night Lights as quarterback Vince Howard, and lived in an apartment in Austin where the show was shot.  He played the character for two seasons until the show ended in 2011.

In 2009, he guest-starred on Burn Notice in the episode “Hot Spot”, playing a high school football player who got into a fight and is being hunted by a local gangster.

In 2010, he guest-starred in the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode “Inhumane Society” as a boxer involved in a Michael Vick-inspired dog fighting scandal. That year, he landed a recurring role on the NBC show Parenthood playing Alex (Haddie Braverman’s love interest). This marked his second collaboration with showrunner Jason Katims, who was in charge of Friday Night Lights.

Jordan voiced Jace in the Xbox 360 game Gears of War 3. Jordan also featured in the popular sports game NBA 2K17 and voiced Justice Young, a teammate of yours in MyPlayer.

In 2012, Jordan appeared in the George Lucas-produced film Red Tails, and played lead character Steve Montgomery in Chronicle, a film about three teenaged boys who develop superhuman abilities.

He also guest-starred in an episode of House’s final season, playing a blind patient.

Breakthrough: Fruitvale Station
In 2013, Jordan starred as shooting victim Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station, directed by Ryan Coogler. His performance garnered critical acclaim, after which he was named an “actor to watch” by People and Variety. Time magazine named him with Coogler one of 30 people under 30 who are changing the world.

He was also named one of 2013’s breakout stars by Entertainment Weekly and GQ.

In 2015, he starred as Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, in Fantastic Four, which was universally panned by critics, and was a bust at the box office–though it was not his fault.

Later in 2015, Jordan rebounded with critical acclaim when he starred as Donnie Creed, the son of boxer Apollo Creed in the 7th Rocky film, Creed, his second collaboration with Coogler, which co-starred Sylvester Stallone. Jordan prepared for his role as a boxer in Creed by undertaking one year of rigorous physical training and  stringent low-fat diet. He did not have a body double during filming and was “routinely bloodied, bruised, and dizzy” when fighting scenes were shot.

In 2018, Jordan starred as the villain Erik Killmonger in Marvel’s Black Panther, marking his third collaboration with Coogler. His performance received critical acclaim, playing Killmonger as a man fueled with hate and emptiness  with a swagger that was commanding and a joy to behold.

Later in 2018, Jordan starred in Fahrenheit 451 with Michael Shannon and Sofia Boutella. The television film was distributed on HBO by HBO Films.[43] That same year, Jordan reprised his role as boxer Donnie Creed in Creed II, a sequel to Creed (2015) and the eighth installment in the Rocky film series. Creed II was released in the United States by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on November 21, 2018. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and it went on to debut to $35.3 million in its opening weekend (a five-day total of $55.8 million), marking the biggest debut ever for a live-action release over Thanksgiving.[44][45]

He also voices the character Julian Chase in Rooster Teeth’s animated series, Gen:Lock, which he also co-produces through his production company, Outlier Society Productions since January 2019.

Jordan portrayed attorney Bryan Stevenson in a legal drama, Just Mercy, which he also co-produced. The film was released in December 2019 to critical acclaim.

Jordan stars in Without Remorse, based on the book by Tom Clancy, as John Clark, a former Navy SEAL and director of the elite counterterrorism unit Rainbow Six. Originally planned for release on September 18, 2020, it was released on April 30, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He is slated to reteam with Coogler for the fourth time in Wrong Answer, a film based on the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.

Jordan is also set to appear in a second remake of The Thomas Crown Affair.

He will also star in A Journal for Jordan, to be directed by Denzel Washington, as a soldier who “kept a journal full of poignant life lessons for their newborn son, Jordan, while deployed overseas.”

Jordan is also set to appear in the vampire film Blood Brothers. His production company Outlier Society signed a first look deal with Amazon.

Jordan will make his directorial debut with Creed III, a sequel to Creed II, in addition to reprising his starring role as boxer Donnie Creed. The movie is set to be released on November 23, 2022.

Jordan has resided in Los Angeles since 2006. He grew up in a religious household and considers himself to be spiritual.

As of 2018, he lives with his parents in a Sherman Oaks home that he had purchased.