Michael B. Jordan threw a knockout punch in his directorial debut with “Creed III,” and it connected, premiering March 3 to a sports-movie record $58.7-million box office open.
In the franchise’s first feature without Sylvester Stallone, the ‘Creed’ collection led by Jordan has – with a modern spin – distinguished itself from its predecessor ‘Rocky’ as a standalone classic in sports movie history.
Jordan and co-stars Jonathan Majors and Tessa Thompson discussed the film-making process in interviews on Going Deep with Donnovan Bennett.
“This is an evolution for me… as your palate evolves, you want to do more – you want to contribute in other ways – and for me, directing was one of those,” said Jordan, who as well as the film’s director plays the titular Adonis Creed.
“It’s a very personal project – a personal story – and to be able to just oversee all the nooks and crannies and every little detail that’s going into it, it felt great.”
While the franchise is known mostly for its intense action and suspenseful boxing scenes, its large-scale appeal boils down to its intimate and authentic portrayal of the human side of pro-sports.
“These movies are about relationships, first and foremost, and the backdrop is boxing,” said Thompson, who plays Bianca Creed, Adonis’ wife, in the movie. “It’s about the relationship between mentor and mentee, father and daughter, husband and wife, your relationship with yourself, and – in this one – we also talk about your relationship to your past.”
The previous two movies in the franchise were renowned for the intense physical training, and the third, likewise, takes the idea of ‘actor physique’ to the extreme.
“The training for this film gets you into the mindset – you’re trying be a champion, and so you train like a champion,” said Majors, who plays the films main antagonist, Damian Anderson.
“I don’t have to imagine, I know now what it is to train for a championship fight, to live the lifestyle of a boxer or a professional athlete.”
As for the film’s ‘rite of passage’ of taking a real punch on set, which is a tradition carried over from the ‘Rocky’ franchise, Majors wasn’t spared.
“You got to go through the initiation, you got to take a real punch and he was down for it,” Jordan said about his co-star. “It makes it more real – it makes it of the world.”
After one weekend, the film is already a box office hit, and Jordan suggests that he doesn’t plan to stop with a trilogy.
“We’ve invested in these characters that are interesting enough that people care about them and want to see what happens next,” said Jordan on his next steps. “Building out the Creed-verse is definitely something that I plan on doing.”
For the whole interview and more, listen and subscribe to Going Deep with Donnovan Bennett.