Michael B. Jordan is more than just an actor, and his rapidly expanding Hollywood portfolio speaks to a performer eager to leave his mark on all sorts of projects. It doesn’t hurt that he’s been inspired by a few of the entertainment industry’s most successful and formidable talents, including LeBron James and JAY-Z.
In the new cover story for Vanity Fair, Jordan’s big ambitions are top of mind, including his plan to be, in the words of journalist Joe Hagan, nothing less than “a one-man movie studio whose every move has a dollar sign attached to it and for whom nothing is left to chance.” Jordan is well on his way to that, too, bolstered by “multi-million-dollar endorsement deals, his own production company, and a new marketing-and-consulting start-up in the works.”
He’s currently building out his production company as “an engine for movies and TV shows that will define his brand.” And Jordan is already targeting the up-and-coming talents he wants to grow, plus known quantities he’s eager to work alongside. “I want to create projects for Brad Pitt, but at the same time I want to be able to create a movie for Will Smith, or Denzel, or Lupita, or Tessa,” Jordan told Vanity Fair. “It’s gonna be eclectic. It’s gonna be animation. It’s gonna be non-scripted. It’s gonna be digital. It’s gonna be film, television. It’s gonna be video games.”
Smartly, Jordan’s new on-screen projects will “curate and target TV shows and movies to the same young, multicultural audiences who flocked to ‘Black Panther.'” That kind of synergy springs directly from some of Jordan’s own “sports heroes,” most notably Lakers star LeBron James, who has his own multi-media marketing-and-branding operation and TV production company. “Whenever I see [James], it’s love, always trying to represent our generation, represent our culture, like, ‘Why not us?,'” Jordan told the outlet. “Things don’t have to be the way they’ve always been done. I just happen to do more than just act.”
After best actress Frances McDormand used her Oscar speech to call for the use of inclusion riders, Jordan immediately jumped on board the concept and promised that his own productions would adhere to new standards to employ racially and gender-diverse film crews. Within a few months, Jordan had gotten Warner Bros. to institute the use of inclusion riders across the entire studio.
That’s not to say that Jordan is putting his on-screen endeavors on hold. Far from it, as the new article ticks off a hearty number of projects currently in the works, including the Netflix series “Raising Dion” (which he will star in and produce), plus producing the feature film “Just Mercy,” the OWN series “David Makes Man,” and the historical epic “The Liberators.” He’ll also star in the Ta-Nehisi Coates-penned “Wrong Answer,” directed by his “Black Panther” and “Fruitvale Station” helmer Ryan Coogler, and he’s preparing his own directorial debut with an adaptation of the best-selling young-adult novel “The Stars Beneath Our Feet.”
Earlier this year, Jordan appeared in a major cameo in the sci-fi feature “Kin,” which he also executive-produced, though his involvement was a surprise kept under wraps by filmmakers Jonathan and Josh Baker. As they explained to IndieWire after the film debuted, Jordan got involved in the film simply because it was something that interested him and that he wanted to support.
“Michael is a sci-fi fan, and a fan of comic books, and a fan of cool, new, unique concepts, and a diverse cast,” Jonathan Baker said earlier this year. “So, we’re kinda perfect for his tastes. … It turns out, we’re all on a very similar page, in our taste level in cinema, also being comic book fans, a whole bunch of stuff. He basically said, ‘Hey, guys, it’s up to you, any way you want to use me, I’m ready to help you guys out with this.’”
That’s the kind of hands-on challenge Jordan seems intent on keeping up, one built on his desire to lift up new talent, tell new stories, and use his name for entertainment good. “We don’t have any mythology, black mythology, or folklore,” Jordan told Vanity Fair. “Creating our own mythology is very important because it helps dream. You help people dream.”