Michael B Jordan on ‘tough’ Fantastic Four reshoots, not starring in Creed 2 and changing his name

'Did it feel tough? Yeah, it felt tough, but you never know how it's going to turn out in the end'

One of 2015’s most disappointing films was Fantastic Four. The stellar cast - including Kate Mara, Miles Teller and Jamie Bell - was a flop at the cinema, the sequel subsequently being cancelled and the four primary cast members getting Razzie nominations.

The film will likely haunt the four actors for some time, with fans constantly wondering “what really happened on set? Did you know what was going on?” 

Luckily, when I meet Michael B Jordan, fatigue with regard to answering questions about the Marvel movie has yet to set in. 

In fact - after asking if he doesn’t mind answering a quick question on the film - he seems more than happy for me to fire away. I do, asking whether the reshoots felt a lot different to the original work done on the film.

“You never really know how a project is going to turn out with edits and cuts, and this and that,” he starts. “Cause everything we shot didn’t ultimately make the movie either. A lot of decisions were made after we filmed, after the reshoots, to make the best project that we could possibly do.” 

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Jordan (far right) in Fantastic Four

It is well known that Fantastic Four had a turbulent production period, with director Josh Trank being removed from the studio and the actors taking part in multiple reshoots.

“Working on set is always difficult when you’re doing a project of that size, with those many special effects and CGI. A lot of parts were involved. 

“Did it feel tough? Yeah, it felt tough, but you never know how it's going to turn out in the end.”

While a blockbuster flop may be a set back for many actors, the 28-year-old doesn’t seem too phased. After all, he’s here today to promote Creed, the critically acclaimed Rocky spin-off that stars him as Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed, the film’s lead.

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Rocky reflections: Michael B Jordan and Sylvester Stallone in the gym for Creed

The story sees Adonis wanting to escape his father’s name - a man he never knew - while attempting to become a champion boxer without relying on the family legacy.

“He is very similar to myself,” Jordan says. “I wanted to change my name a lot when I was growing up because I’m called Michael Jordan and there’s another guy out there, who is pretty well known, who is also called Michael Jordan.

“As a kid I used to get picked on a lot, which was really frustrating at times, but it gave me a healthy chip to want to be competitive and want to compete. It was eerily similar, so I definitely felt a lot of sympathy for my character.”

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Michael B Jordan in Creed

Throughout, Adonis searches for a mentor and finds it in Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone (a performance that has won the man a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination). 

“Adonis was really looking for that father figure, that mentor, not knowing who his father is," Jordan adds. "He was looking for a lot of answers and I think he found that in Rocky Balboa.”

It wasn’t just his character that helped Jordan out. Apparently, Stallone would be ringside, spurring Jordan on, telling him to take punches so it would look good on camera.  

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Fight club: Sylvester Stallone, right, as Rocky Balboa and Michael B Jordan as his boxing protégé Adonis Johnson

“Sly put me on the spot and said: ‘are you going to be a chicken or are you going to take it?’ He said he did it in the Rocky films, so I was going to do it too.”

After the film’s US release, Stallone put a video of the young actor being ‘KO’d’ by another boxer on Twitter, implying the punch was a real hit that knocked Jordan out. It turns out, he wasn’t down and out in real life, but Jordan does add: “I saw stars for sure”.

The fight scene’s in Creed are indeed very impressive, some of the best looking since Raging Bull. Of course, it was the vision of director Ryan Coogler that made them a reality.

Coogler and Jordan have worked together twice now - previously on Fruitvale Salvation - and are set to work together once more on Wrong Answer, about the Atlanta School cheating scandal that swept the US. So, where does Jordan think he’d be without Coogler’s direction?

“I have no idea, wouldn’t even want to,” he says. “Couldn’t even fathom. I don’t even want to imagine that world. Don’t even want to think about it.”

At the moment, it’s looking like the pair will return for a sequel to Creed, but now Coogler has signed on to Marvel’s Black Panther, things may be a little trickier to manage. And if Coogler doesn’t return, Jordan may not either.

“I’m not sure,” he says after I ask whether he would be back for Creed 2 if Coogler wasn’t. “I think it’s something I’d definitely consider. I trusted my career with Ryan and it’s one of those things where, the world that he recreated and added on to with Creed is truly special, so I can’t imagine that world without Coog doing it.”

Fingers crossed Marvel won’t take up all Coogler’s time. Creed is in cinemas now. 

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