BLACK VOICES
06/06/2018 12:36 pm ET Updated Jun 06, 2018

Michael B. Jordan Once Told His Agents He Only Wanted White Roles

"Me playing that role is going to make it what it is," the "Black Panther" star said.

Michael B. Jordan at one point told his agents that he was only interested in roles for white actors.

The “Black Panther” and “Creed” star told “Insecure’s” Issa Rae in Variety’s Actors on Actors series that his mindset changed after he performed in the movie “Fruitvale Station.”

It was then, he said in the clip below, that he told his team at William Morris Endeavor: “I don’t want to go out for any role that’s written for African-Americans.”

Jordan declared that he wanted parts intended for white males “because me playing that role is going to make it what it is. ... I don’t want any pre-bias on the character.”

Michael B. Jordan changed his career strategy at one point, opting to vie for parts intended for white actors.
Eric Gaillard / Reuters
Michael B. Jordan changed his career strategy at one point, opting to vie for parts intended for white actors.

He pointed to his role in the 2012 sci-fi film “Chronicle” as an example of an actor embodying a character without racial requirements. His “Chronicle” character’s last name was scripted as Kaczynski, but it was changed to Montgomery to accommodate him.

Jordan said the motivation behind pursuing such roles is that “it was just playing people. It didn’t have to be specifically playing a black guy.”

Jordan now appears as Guy Montag, originally a white character, in HBO’s new version of “Fahrenheit 451.” It’s another step forward from the dynamic of many actors of color vying for just a few top Hollywood roles.

Jordan had hoped his career strategy could help open up a crowded field.

“It was just how do you reverse-engineer that problem, that kind of pitted competition between each other, and just put more opportunities out there for people to eat and be successful at what they want to do,” Jordan said.

His remarks on pursuing white roles begin at the 11-minute mark.

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