Michael B. Jordan has been a working actor for over 24 years. Four years longer than LeBron James’ NBA career, and one year longer than Tom Brady’s stint on the NFL gridiron. He has a youthful appearance and spirit, so it’s easy to overlook his incredible feat of staying power in an industry that can be so transactional. He has toiled away on network television, cable, independent cinema, midbudget studio fare, and Hollywood blockbusters alike, always with a blue collar approach.
With this year’s Creed III, he took on a new role—feature-film director—and handled it with aplomb. I knew he would. Because directing is a working person’s game. The world sees the press tours, the interviews, and the edited behind-the-scenes footage, but I am deeply familiar with the reality. Marathon conversations with actors. Budget meetings when you realize cutting part of the story is the only way forward. Postproduction hours when your own mistakes laugh at you from the footage. It’s like climbing a mountain summit through enemy territory with your heart exposed. But I knew Mike had it in him. Because over that quarter-century of work, nothing was given to him. Everything was earned. And I strongly believe that his best work is still to come.
Coogler is a director and Oscar-nominated producer
Set Design by Kelly Infield; Styling by Jason Bolden; Hair by Jove Edmond; Make-up by Tasha Reiko Brown; Production by Viewfinders
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