He plays Bryan Stevenson, a young black Harvard lawyer who defends those wrongly condemned in the thought provoking drama “Just Mercy,” which made Trendy’s list of the most memorable dramas of 2019.
In taking on the role of Bryan Stevenson, Michael B. Jordan (“Black Panther,” the “Creed” films, “Fruitvale Station”) says that, in some respects, his preparation did not differ much from playing other parts. “My approach is to lock in and try and get the essence of a character.” However, he continues, what set this role apart was his direct access to the man himself. “It was priceless to have Bryan around to pick up on his mannerisms and the way he speaks…all the small details that are specific to him, so that was the major difference in terms of prep.
“Just Mercy” is based on the powerful and thought-provoking true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation.
“I haven’t spent a lot of time in courtrooms, thank God, knock wood,” adds Jordan who we caught up with at a special community screening hosted by Kobe Bryant and Terrence J at the Cinemark Baldwin Hills, Calif. “So just learning the legal terms and how to be comfortable in that environment is something I took seriously. I was able to call or text Bryan and ask, ‘What would you do in this situation? How do you approach the bench? How do you deliver your opening statements or closing arguments?’
Having him to lean on for guidance was so valuable, just to be as much like him as possible. But that’s the fun of acting, right? We get to wear different hats and become other people. Each role calls for something new, and this time it was a suit and tie and briefcase, so that’s cool.”
The film, which also stars Oscar winners Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” “Baby Driver,” “Django: Unchained”) and Brie Larson (“Room,” “Short Term 12,” “Captain Marvel”) is an inspiring drama that brings one of the most important stories of our time to the big screen.
“Just Mercy” releases in theaters everywhere January 10th
By Samantha Ofole-Prince