They may be two of the hottest names in Hollywood, but Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx bonded on playing mere mortals in the Q&A after their new movie, “Just Mercy,” at the Toronto Film Festival on Friday.
Jordan, who’s a sweat-glistened stunner as Adonis Johnson in the “Creed” movies and as antihero Erik Killmonger in “Black Panther,” talked about suiting up (literally) to play crusading Alabama lawyer Bryan Stevenson in the heartbreaking courtroom drama “Just Mercy,” directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (“Short Term Twelve”).
Clad in a glittering overcoat for the film’s premiere night at the film fest, Jordan cut a glam figure as he talked about getting into character to play Stevenson.
“He’s a real life superhero for me,” Jordan told the crowd at Toronto’s Elgin Theater. “It was very intimidating. I felt like I had a lot of pressure to get it right. I get emotional thinking about it. Because I think this is gonna help him fight the fight … I lost my words.”
In the film, Jordan-as-Stevenson forgoes a tony law career after a Harvard education to move to Alabama to defend men on death row he believes have been wrongly accused. One of them, Walter McMillian, is played in the film by Oscar winner Foxx.
“When they asked me to get into the skin of Walter McMillian, which any black man will tell you… I understand what it is to be called [N-word],” Foxx told the audience. “I come from a small town in Texas. In 2008 there was a young man named Barack Obama … in my town, the newspaper’s only six pages, and [his win] was not on the front page of our paper. So I understand what Walter was feeling.”
Foxx went on to say that despite his A-lister status, he still looks over his shoulder when he sees blue lights in the rearview mirror. “Even today. if I’m driving in my nice car, if I see a policeman — not to demonize all policemen — I still feel like something could happen,” he said.
By Sara Stewart