By María Estévez, MWN
Actor Michael B. Jordan plays John Kelly (John Clark in the book) in Amazon Prime Video’s action thriller ‘Without Remorse,’ based on Tom Clancy’s novel of the same name. It wasn’t that long ago when Jordan, a young kid from Newark, New Jersey, was playing Wallace as part of the ensemble cast of teens on David Simon’s prolific series ‘The Wire.’ And over the span of 20 years, we’ve literally watched this actor grow up.
Now he’s spreading his wings as a producer of ‘Without Remorse,’ proving his versatility time and again. Not just his acting, but also his good looks and lifestyle have made him a phenomenon among men and women across the world as he was chosen as 2020’s Sexiest Man Alive by People’s Magazine.
Metro talked with the 34-years-old to learn more.
‘Without Remorse’ became the first movie for your production company. Tell us more about that experience.
I was involved from the very beginning to the end. I had a good team to help me and I did follow their lead. Just going through the process was a learning curve for me. I walked away from this movie with more knowledge and experience.
Is it difficult to work as an actor when you are also a producer?
know when to shut up, listen, and learn and be a sponge. I think we can be really happy with the results. Finding the balance as an actor and producer was important.
What does it mean for you to play John Kelly, the character of Tom Clancy novels?
We, actors and actresses, are limited on the opportunities that we have and we need to work and express ourselves throughout our work. Sometimes, the least we can get is to express a lot in an action scene. I’ve been lucky to have generous scene partners who understand the emotional beats a person can be going through in certain situations that add so many layers to the performance.
Tell more about your character’s relationship with Pam Clark, John’s pregnant wife.
[Director] Stefano [Sollima] wanted to find a balance to make sure that the audience understood that it was deeper. But, at the same time, we didn’t want to be confusing. We wanted to be really clear that they loved each other but it was more ‘I have your back no matter what’ relationship. We were able to define those dynamics.
How did you prepare for the action scenes? How long can you keep your breath under water?
Breathing can be trained and exercised. If you start training and exercising that muscle you definitely can do it as well. Underwater training was something that we did for quite some time, because we knew that we had these sequences. Stefano had developed a very detailed board with those scenes. I hooked with some military trainer and we spent time in the tanks and had some stressful situations that we needed to solve as working malfunctions, gear failure, work with military apparatus as rebreathers, machines that soldiers wear that suppress all the bubbles to breathe under the water without leaving a trace… Anyway, it was a very detailed training and I ended holding my breath under the water for around three minutes. If you are calm and still, you can hold your breath a lot longer.
Were you afraid of doing your own stunts?
It was fun. I am an action junkie. When I was a kid, these were the movies that I watched and I always wanted to be in one. That was part of my imagination and now it is so wonderful to have the opportunity to train and do the majority of my stunts. I had an incredible stunt team and when Stefano said that he wanted me to do all the stunts, we still worked with stunt doubles and made sure we were safe. They taught us the proper way to handle those situations. It was worth it.
How did the script come to your production company?
The script had been around for a few years when I came across it. If these stories are floating around for a while, you need fresh eyes to tell them from a different perspective. I looked for Stefano because I think he is a great director. After talking with him and learning his vision, I wanted him to be a part of it. His understanding of the story, themes and messages we wanted to send through the movie was mesmerizing and I am very happy with the result
I didn’t want the audience to keep seeing me die. Every time I saw my mom watch me die on the screen was tearing me up. I just wanted to play a role so she could see me win. I wanted to take the challenge as the story feels relevant today.
Do you think streaming services could replace movie theaters?
Streaming gives access to movies that otherwise would not have an audience. And now people can watch them. Certain films are obviously intended to be shown in a movie theater but I think the evolution right now takes us here. The pandemic has made it even faster. The industry is trying to figure out where we are going, how are we going to bring a movie out to the masses so everybody has the opportunity to watch it. Luckily enough, we were able to land in a place like Amazon with this film. There is something about being at home and being able to have instant access to the movies that you want to watch, but it is also wonderful to go to a theater and enjoy that experience. It is going to be a healthy balance in the future.
Black Panther is an iconic movie. How does it feel to be a part of that?
I’m so proud of Black Panther, anything that comes from it, I welcome it with open arms. We put our blood, sweat and tears into it. People are telling me that I have to rest. I really drown myself in work because I enjoy the process of making things happen, putting things together and completing tasks. I have the energy for it. I’ve worked up to this point and I don’t feel like resting, so I just don’t.
‘Without Remorse’ is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.