Though Michael B. Jordan is widely known for his role as Adonis Creed in the Creed revival of the Rocky franchise, the 31-year-old actor has fought his way up the ranks of the entertainment industry, now earning the title as a Hollywood heavyweight.
From his days as a child star on the HBO hit series, The Wire, to serving as running back for the Dillon High Panthers in Friday Night Lights, to his critical acclaimed performance in Fruitvale Station that follows the real-life story of an unarmed Black man who is fatally shot by a transit officer in Oakland, CA, Jordan has flexed his acting muscles. He has even tried his turn as a comic book villain, albeit a sympathetic one, in the summer box-office Marvel hit, Black Panther.
Having cemented himself as one of Hollywood’s top leading men, Jordan has increasingly extended his creativity into other realms of the industry, founding his own production company, Outlier Society Productions, in 2016. With Outlier Society adopting inclusion riders, Jordan is committed to making sure people of color have more opportunities to work in the industry, both in front and behind the camera.
Outlier Society’s current projects include a Netflix’s family sci-fi drama called, Raising Dion and a remake of the Hollywood classic, The Thomas Crown Affair, both of which are produced by and star Jordan.
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In support of the women & men who are leading this fight, I will be adopting the Inclusion Rider for all projects produced by my company Outlier Society. I’ve been privileged to work with powerful woman & persons of color throughout my career & it’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward. If you want to learn more about how to support the cause – link in bio. #OutlierSociety #AnnenbergInclusionInitiative
Admittedly, directing films has always been a domain Jordan has been interested in exploring. Jordan’s directorial debut is the cinematic short, “The Angels’ Share;” a film that is a part of the official campaign for Bacardi’s new Premium Collection.
Shot in the Caribbean, the film opens with inter-titles that preface the aging process in creating the rum. Over the course of eight years, the aging process renders some of the liquid to evaporate, and while some of this very liquid becomes lost to the atmosphere, the film depicts the process as circulating back and rejuvenating the cultural spirit of the region.
The rum’s divine-like quality is evoked through the time-lapse footage of the sky, as well as sweeping shots of the idyllic Caribbean landscape and beaches. Intercut with footage of locals salsa dancing and drinking rum at a street party and familial celebrations, the lifestyle of the Caribbean is represented as underpinned by the values of family, community, history and heritage.
The first time Jordan connected with Bacardi was last year at the company’s “No Commission” event in Miami. Running over the course of three days, the event showcased art and music. It was here that Jordan took note of the rum brand’s commitment to incorporating creatives and artists into the creative framework of the company.
While this is Jordan’s directorial debut, he was able to work alongside and have the guidance of industry veteran Paul Hunter, whose LA-based production company, Prettybird, which Hunter co-founded, enabled the short film to come together.
Hunter is a renowned director whose work crosses over between music videos and commercials. His CV racks up to an impressive list, working with music legends such as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, U2, Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, Gwen Stefani, Marilyn Manson, Lenny Kravitz, and Jennifer Lopez. Hunter was also the creative mind behind the music video for Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize,” D’Angelo’s “How Does it Feel?,” and Christina Aguilera’s “Lady Marmalade,” feat. Mya, Lil Kim and Pink.
Taking note from Hunter as both a director and Black business owner, Jordan soaked up all the crucial knowledge administered by Hunter. The project with Bacardi has been a formative step in Jordan feeling more comfortable and confident behind the camera. In speaking to Fast Company on the Bacardi shoot, Jordan stated,
“For me, we used a lot of crane shots, which was something I learned a lot about in this process, just controlling a crane and a jib. It’s a lot more going on than just being the actor in front of the camera. Positioning, movement, blocking, timing, and continuity that was crucial to some shots. So I had a chance to get some at-bats with all of this, to take a few swings at, so it was fun.”
Jordan’s first feature film will be a screen adaptation of Barclay Moore’s novel The Stars Beneath Our Feet. Jordan will also serve as producer, while Moore will adapt the novel into a screenplay. The book follows a young African-American boy who uses his imagination and colorful toys to escape the harsh realities of his brother’s death and life in the projects of Harlem.
His uppercut through the ranks of Hollywood has allowed him to cross into the world of producing and directing and at the age of 31, Jordan’s major success in the entertainment industry is proof that the star is destined for greatness.