Photography Credit: Gregory Harris/Interview Magazine
Posted by | Ray Cornelius
You’d have to be living under a rock not to be familiar with the face of 26-year-old actor Michael B. Jordan. For many of you, he was the cute little kid from hugely popular series The Sopranos and Cosby. For others he was the young thug that died to soon on HBO’s The Wire. You may also remember his three stint on ABC’s All My Children.
Well after this Friday, you will know definitely him for his riveting performance as Oscar Grant in Ryan Coogler’s heart-touching indie, Fruitvale Station. The story retells the last 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant, an unarmed 22-year-old who was shot to death by a Bay Area transit officer on New Year Day, 2009. Jordan not only plays the hell out of this character, he literally becomes Grant right before your very eyes.
Recently, Jordan opened up about his transformative performance with the film’s producer, Forest Whitaker for the recent issue of Interview Magazine. Inside, Jordan explains why it’s so crucial to be accurate when playing a real person and what he did to get into character.
“Well, there was no audio and no video of Oscar—there was nothing for me to go off of. It was just Oscar Grant, 22 years of age, African-American, Bay Area resident, for the most part. And I remember you telling me, ‘Don’t imitate. You represent him—be a representation of who Oscar was.’ And that changed my whole angle on it, explains Jordan. “Basically, I had to learn who Oscar was through all the people who knew him best: his best friends who were with him that night; his daughter, Tatiana; his mother, Wanda; and Sophina [Oscar’s girlfriend and Tatiana’s mother]. The added pressure was not letting them down because they knew him so well. They’re gonna be the most critical, so that’s why at the premiere it meant so much to me for his aunt to say that there were certain things in the movie where she couldn’t tell the difference between Oscar and myself.”
Jordan also goes on to talk about how pleased he is with audiences’ reaction to the film. He believes the overall message is not about race as much as it is about all of humanity.
“When I hear the same comments over and over again from different walks of life, it makes me feel like the message is not about race, it’s not about where you’re from—it’s about how we treat people. It’s about, regardless of what you’ve done in the past, you can make good choices moving forward, and I think it’s about trying. Oscar was a person who was trying. But I don’t think the message was at the forefront of my brain at all; it was honestly just being true to who he was. And then everything else that follows—that’s just the icing on the cake.”
Click here to read the rest of the interview!
Fruitvale Station opens nationwide on Friday, July 26.