Some of us are still fanning ourselves from all the heat that actor Michael B. Jordan brought to the screen in Black Panther earlier this year. Then there’s women like me who are still drenched in sweat from Fahrenheit 451, the Ray Bradbury novel that Jordan recently produced and starred in for HBO that honestly featured more book burning than bare chests. In the film Jordan stars as fireman Guy Montag whose job is to burn all the books present in a futuristic society, but eventually questions the effects of his actions. The role is a departure from past roles for Jordan (many in which he died). He’s played everyone from a boxer trying to live up to his father’s name in the Creed franchise to Oscar Grant, a young father who was murdered by a BART police officer at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland in 2009 in the biographical drama Fruitvale Station.
In a recent interview for Vanity Fair in which Jordan was questioned by peer Issa Rae of HBO’s Insecure, Jordan shared that his approach to acting is one in where he doesn’t limit himself. After being featured in HBO’s The Wire Jordan revealed he told his agent that he no longer wanted to audition for roles solely written for African-Americans:
“I said, I don’t want it.”
“I want to only go for, like, [roles written for] white males. That’s it.”
Jordan added that his ability should bring something to the role beyond race:
“Me playing that role is going to make it what it is. I don’t want any pre-bias on the character.”
Since then, Jordan has went on to star in roles in movies such as The Fantastic Four and Chronicle.
Jordan shared that the response from his team was positive and proof of how much they believed in his talent:
“They believed in me as much as I believed in myself. I think that was really important. I got no pushback whatsoever. I think my idea for the type of career I want moving forward is I want to play roles that impact people, that make people feel and think. I don’t ever want to get caught in the machine of making movies just for the sake of making movies.”
Jordan says because of his success, he feels obligated to help others pursue their passion as well:
“I’d much rather create, produce projects that mean something for other people. To give them a shot at being the next whoever they need to be. So as much as I want to be the guy that’s portraying these characters, if it’s not right, if it doesn’t fit, I’m not going to take it just for the sake of being in that role. I would much rather see somebody else that has those tools and that talent take it and be the best version of themselves.”