Transcript for Michael B. Jordon discusses Hollywood inclusion and new film
We have to talk about your new film "Just mercy" because I loved it. Thank you. I loved it. You play Bryan Stevenson, a civil rights lawyer, activist. I know Bryan. Okay. And he's been working to change the criminal justice system for over 30 years, over 30 years. It depicts his fight to free an Alabama man on death row, played by Jamie Foxx, an incredible, incredible performance. This man was wrongly convicted of murder, and you call Bryan a real life superhero. Yes. Why is that? I mean, all of which you just said. I mean, I met him four years ago and I was almost embarrassed that I didn't know his work. So you didn't know his work? I did not. He's a legend in the legal community. And that's amazing. That's kind of how I think he wanted to operate for a really long time, keep his head down, be low. And I think over time he's wanted to change the narrative and the perception of what it is to be black and brown in America. I feel like when I read his memoir, got a chance to meet him, listen to his Ted talk and hear him speak I was like, man, this guy is amazing and his work is soimportant. I had to, you know, be involved as much as I could. I had to produce this movie and get it in front of as many eyes as possible because it's so important to today's issues that we deal with on a day-to-day That's what I love about you as an actor. You can see it, you only get hind projects that you are truly passionate about. This movie which I think is so important, it puts a face and it puts a story on death row. Yes. And in prisons. And a lot of times movies can change the way people think about it. Exactly. How do you hope that this can translate into real life and maybe real change? It's one of those things -- first of all, Jamie did an amazing job as Walter Mcmillan. He was that character and brought the humanity to the forefront. A lot of times with propaganda and media outlets, sometimes people only see what is the perception. They only see what's given to them which -- Or what they want to see. Or what they want to see. It's like Bryan Stevenson said slavery never ended, it just evolved. The automatically assumed guilty, the bad vibe that's already there. This movie hopefully changes that and brings the human story to the forefront. Did it change your mind at all? I mean, look at me. In a sense that I walk around in this, I know that anxiety and angst when I walk out the doors. I live by a different set of rules. That's just what it is and that normalization is what we want to change. It's not a film -- we wanted to do a really, you know, a really, really thoughtful job and not make a movie that manipulates emotion. We didn't want to make anyone feel any type of way. We wanted a real depiction, a real story that sparks conversations. Because it's quiet. It's very quiet but these true events are exactly what happened and we really wanted to play into Bryan's history, his story, what he really went through without any gimmicks or tricks to make people feel emotion. And you didn't need it. Exact pli. The story is the story. What I took away from the movie, the first time, the world premiere, standing ovation which is amazing and great but at the q&a, the questions afterwards was what can I do to help, how can I be a part of the change. If you leave this movie feeling optimistic which is Bryan's super power. Vote, educate yourself. Exercise your right. Find out who your local prosecutor is. Find out what bills or policies are being put in place, and if you feel so inclined to do so, get behind a message. The voice of the people is very important. You're doing your part to change also because I know that you're a producer on the film. Yes. And you've pledged to use inclusion riders on all your films. Ju, "Just mercy" is the first time that Warner brothers has taken this rider into effect. You started really change in Hollywood because you now have the power to do something and you're using it which is really great. That's your super power. Yes, ma'am. It's finally getting the ability to tell stories and have the influence to affect my environment and how I tell stories and make movies, you know, Warner brothers was so gracious they ran towards the idea. Warner media adopted that mandate also. Can you explain what an inclusion rider is. I don't think everyone understands that. Frances mcdormand made this powerful speech at the oscars and I just happened to be in the audience and it's pretty much a mandate that a person -- a minority -- underrepresented groups, lgbt community, women of color, have to be considered seriously for a department head behind the camera. It's not bulletproof. It's not one of those things where they have to be hired but it makes them have a shot. Yeah. Being seen, getting an opportunity to get a job and in Hollywood it's human nature, you know. We hire people that we used to work with, with your friends, you know. That's just the way it goes, but this just makes sure that everybody gets an opportunity to be seen, gets an opportunity for that position. It's a shot. And it's a step, you know. It's a step. That's all life ever really is, isn't it? Step by step. Exactly. Moment by moment you make a I love it. It's a good thing. This is your first film with Jamie Foxx. But y'all have been friends for a long time, right? Yeah. How was that? It was incredible. I think Jamie is an incredible actor. He's been a big brother of mine for over a decade and always gave me advice and, you know, he's been through what I'm going through right now so mentally, spiritually just trying to keep me from making, you know, as many mistakes as he did, you but it was awesome to work with him because we have that kinship, that friendship, so there is no real boundaries to cross in the scene. When you're with your girlfriends and your friends and family, you can say harsh things. You can joke around. You can push those limits because you know there's no love lost. The same thing when it comes to acting. We're able to interact in a certain type of way and that chemistry kind of comes out. Your scenes together were incredible. Thank you. The whole film is incredible. Yeah. Good stuff. You're always welcome here. You always have a seat at this table. Thank you.
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