Fresh from his recent and coveted “Breakthrough Performance” award from the National Board of Review and “Breakthrough Actor” at the Gotham Awards for his pivotal and career shaping starring role in the critically acclaimed and much Oscar buzzed film “Fruitvale Station,” actor Michael B. Jordan, is facing a very bright future in Tinseltown.
By Kirk Shannon-Butts
Taking his career cues from the careers trajectories of such Hollywood mega-watts superstars as Leonardo DiCaprio, Sean Penn and Matt Damon, Jordan says, “I think it is a beautiful thing to get emotions out of people.” Further explaining, “acting is an imitation of life,” Jordan first came to the attention of Hollywood at age 12, with a recurring role in the CBS comedy “Cosby.” In 1999, the same year, he appeared in the HBO series “The Sopranos,” but it was his role in HBO’s “The Wire” playing the small but pivotal role of Wallace that placed Jordan on the radar of Hollywood. He scored a major role in the two final seasons of the NBC drama “Friday Night Lights” as quarterback Vince Howard.
In 2012, Jordan landed his first important feature film role in the George Lucas produced movie “Red Tails;” however, it would be another and contemporary true life event that would catapult Jordan to Hollywood “it boy” when he gladly accepted the role of Oscar Grant in first time director Ryan Coogler’s feature film debut “Fruitvale Station.” Coogler wrote the screenplay of the real-life slaying of Oscar Grant on New Year’s morning by the hands of a BART transit officer with Jordan in mind. Jordan describes what he felt upon reading the “Fruitvale” script for the first time, “Half way through I just started balling. I started to cry. I still have that script with the tears on it. It was moving. I remember thinking, I have to meet this guy (director Ryan Coogler).” He goes on, “In the first 5 minutes of meeting Ryan, I said, ‘Let’s go make this work.'”
Michael B. Jordan was born in Santa Ana, California. At age 2, Jordan and his family moved to Newark, New Jersey where he attended Newark Arts High School and played basketball like another and not related NBA superstar Michael Jordan. Never planning to act, Jordan started off modeling for local companies and followed his path all the way to Hollywood.
Today, Jordan’s acting resume is growing rapidly with a slew of upcoming performances including Johnny Storm in “The Fantastic Four” reboot and will re-team with Ryan Coogler playing the grandson of Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” spinoff “Creed” alongside Sylvester Stallone. Jordan was named to “Ones to Watch” list by People magazine and Variety, included amongst People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for 2013 and a one-on-one with Oprah.
Oscar nominations are January 16, 2014. The “Fruitvale Station” DVD is set for release on January 14, 2014.
Kirk Shannon-Butts is a Film Director and Writer. His acclaimed debut feature film “Blueprint” screened in over 50 international film festivals, Pride celebrations, colleges and universities where it was nominated for “Best First Film” and “Best Film” from the African Diaspora.
Shannon-Butts was honored as one of the “OUT100” from Out Magazine and “25 To Watch in Hollywood” in Uptown magazine.
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