Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Erik Killmonger in Black Panther was one of many memorable performances in the runaway hit. The character is definitely a villain, but Jordan managed to bring to the screen a character that viewers actually sympathized with. The actor shared with Stephen Colbert Tuesday night that he has a unique method for exploring his characters that allow him to bring depth to his performances. Michael kept a diary for Killmonger, just like he does for every character he plays.
To help him get in character, the actor told Colbert that he writes a journal from the character’s perspective. Entries in the journals run from the character’s earliest memory to just before the point at which the film begins. Jordan described Killmonger’s journal as sad and dark given the circumstances of his childhood. Growing up without his mother, dealing with the foster care system, moving from one foster home to another, and so on would have created a life full of struggle and experiences that were tough mentally. Michael wrote about it all in his journal in lots of detail. He went deep, which means things got really dark sometimes, into areas that the actor said were probably not appropriate to share on television. It’s a method that helps him get into character right before a scene.
Michael B. Jordan and Stephen Colbert also talked about Michael’s next project, Fahrenheit 451, according to the Hollywood Reporter. It’s an HBO film based on Ray Bradbury’s classic novel that was published in 1953. Jordan co-produced the film with Ramin Bahrani and spoke about how they updated the story and why he believes it’s an important story to tell in today’s climate.
The actor explained that Bradbury disliked media and advertising because he felt like it keeps us from being able to think freely and critically. Bradbury, however, didn’t dislike all television. He liked smart shows that make you think. Michael explained that he believes it’s a situation that applies to life today, especially given the current political climate. He feels that it’s important for us to not just accept what we’re told.
“It’s kind of similar to what we’re going through today. That’s why I thought this project was so important. That’s why I wanted to get involved, because if we don’t start making conscious decisions and asking questions and resisting what we’re constantly being fed, we’re on a slippery slope down the way of where we don’t want to be.”
Check out the full interview below.