Michael B. Jordan has come a long way since his early days as Wallace on The Wire. With turns as Adonis “Donnie” Creed in the Rocky spinoff Creed and, of course, Killmonger in Black Panther, Newark’s finest has been easing into the role of action star and all-around Hollywood mogul. As star John Kelly in Without Remorse, the long-awaited adaptation of Tom Clancy’s 1993 novel that once had Keanu Reeves attached, as well as producer, Jordan is even closer to dominating the industry. And while the pandemic kept Without Remorse off the big screen, Amazon brought it into our homes on the small screen.
During a recent conversation with members of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) for their virtual roundtable (viewable on YouTube) about his milestone film and Hollywood flex moves, Jordan revealed that he did 95 to 96 percent of his own stunts, which includes impressive burning car and underwater scenes. Becoming John Kelly was a personal mission for Jordan, who began to envision himself as an action star after appearing in several films, including Chronicle in 2012.
“As far as roles I wanted to go after, roles that I wanted to make inherently Black, I wanted to play roles that Leo (DiCaprio) was playing and Tom Cruise, actors that play characters that are just characters [where] there’s no bias when the characters are being created or written,” Jordan shared.
Creating significant change in Hollywood doesn’t just happen, however. For Jordan, that change has come for himself and others by “being able to produce, create my own production company, have more of a say when it comes into hiring other positions, not just in front of the camera, but behind the camera as well.”
On screen, Jordan and his team really shook things up with the introduction of Lieutenant Commander Karen Greer, who is both a comrade and protector to Jordan’s John Kelly. Greer, played by Queen & Slim’s Jodie Turner-Smith, is the niece of Admiral Jim Greer, played by James Earl Jones in other Tom Clancy book screen adaptations like Clear and Present Danger starring Harrison Ford and The Hunt for Red October starring Sean Connery. Turner-Smith, Jordan shared, “brings a fierceness” to the role as the first Black female commander as a Navy SEAL, which he also feels modernizes both the film and franchise.
“That representation, that imagery, those scenes of her being completely capable in the field and showing that camaraderie between her and John out in the field, but then also seeing her in her dress blues and being in the boardrooms with the Secretary of Defense and how she held her own in that space as well, to be able to go from that place to another, I thought was really, really powerful.”
Although Jordan told The View he does not know if he is in the Black Panther sequel, recently announced as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to be released July 8, 2022, he does plan to continue making his own Hollywood history. In March, it was announced he would make his directorial debut with Creed 3, in which he also stars. Going into this challenge, he says “prep has been a common piece of advice that I’ve been getting from my director friends and people I really look up to. [They are] just like ‘prep as much as you can. Be as prepared as possible.’”
What’s really clear, however, is Jordan is more than prepared to take over his destiny in Hollywood.
Without Remorse is playing now on Amazon Prime Video.