By Jueseppi B.
My good blogging buddy Darcy, from Social Awareness, is responsible for guiding me to this…..
MUST READ: Michael B. Jordan opens up about the pressures of playing Oscar Grant and the importance of sharing his story in Fruitvale Station during a recent interview.
Michael B. Jordan on His Role in ‘Fruitvale Station’
By LARRY ROHTER
The “B.” in Michael B. Jordan stands for “Bakari,” which in Swahili means “of noble promise.” For Mr. Jordan, the 26-year-old star of “Fruitvale Station,” 2013 has been the year in which potential — “I’ve been walking in it since I was born” he said of the pressure embodied in his middle name — fully blossomed into reality.
In “Fruitvale Station,” Mr. Jordan plays Oscar Grant, a “flawed, human, very loving guy who was struggling to get back on track” when a police officer shot him dead on an Oakland, Calif., subway platform on Jan. 1, 2009. Television audiences already knew Mr. Jordan as the quarterback Vince Howard in “Friday Night Lights” and Alex in “Parenthood,”but the stakes were especially high in “Fruitvale Station,” which is based on a real case and, as Mr. Jordan pointed out, is the first film script written specifically for him.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy role to play,” he said. “But I saw a lot of similarities to myself.”
Released the weekend that George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin, “Fruitvale Station,” which is the debut feature of the young African-American director Ryan Coogler and had already won awards at the Sundance and Cannes festivals, immediately was drawn into the tense national debate about race, gun laws and the judicial system. “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and “12 Years a Slave” have also emerged as Oscar contenders, leading some critics to hail 2013 as a banner year for black films.
But Mr. Jordan expressed caution. “For someone to look at this year and say that, well, so what is next year going to be like?” he asked. “One film or five? What’s the quota? What makes it a black year for films? I don’t get that. I feel like this is a year when filmmakers of color had stories they wanted to tell, and they were successful. But it’s got to be sustained.”
Born in California and raised in a Newark neighborhood he describes as “inner city, without a lot of options,” Mr. Jordan has enjoyed a steadily ascendant career. As a preteenager, he appeared as a model in Sunday newspaper fliers for places like Modell’s, then acted in “The Sopranos” and “Cosby” before winning his first recurring role, as Wallace in “The Wire.” Down the line, he’d like to write and direct and dreams of playing the singer Sam Cooke in a biopic when he’s a bit older.
“I think that through film, you can get people to sit down and think about the way other people are treated, the way they are judged, being different,” he said. “You may not have the ability to come in contact with or hang out with somebody that looks like me. But if I can show the humanity and the relatability,” through characters like Oscar Grant, “you can bridge the gap.”
Fruitvale Station – Official Trailer
Published on May 16, 2013
The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.