Michael B. Jordan just went from man to legend.
On Wednesday, the 36-year-old received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, cemented in front of Funko Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd.
The Creed III director and a star was honoured with loving speeches from frequent and recent collaborators Ryan Coogler and Jonathan Majors, who showered Jordan with praise as they reflected on his journey throughout the years.
ET’s Nischelle Turner spoke with the star at his ceremony, where he admitted that he was overwhelmed by the moment.
“My emotions are actually all over the place, I’m seeing so many people that I want to kind of get to and hug and connect with and show my appreciation,” Jordan said, beaming. “I want to give the love right back, you know? But then I’m also just taking a moment to just to be like, ‘Damn. OK, wow, that happened. I’m here!’”
“I didn’t think it would hit me this much, but as it all started to come together and we start to see it and reality starts to set in, the importance [and] the weight of the moment… you really realize it,” he added, saying that he couldn’t imagine anything that would top the moment. Although he noted that only his upcoming box office opening “comes somewhere in the ballpark.”
Looking back on his career, Jordan shared that if he could talk to his younger self who was just starting out, he’d advise him to “stay optimistic, stay faithful, stay true to yourself [and] always keep a full, kind heart. The universe will make your wildest dreams come true.”
During Wednesday’s ceremony, director Ryan Coogler recalled his first meeting with Jordan for 2013’s Fruitvale Station, Coogler shared that Jordan had been his first pick for the leading role of Oscar Grant, without having met him in person yet.
“I had just seen him work in film and television around that time but I didn’t know what type of person he was. I wanted to make sure we had good chemistry [and] we would be able to work together, to relate over the few months of shooting,” Coogler told the audience.
“We met at a Starbucks not too far from Universal Studios… We sat down right there in the lobby and we talked about our families, about our hopes, our dreams, why he got into the business… and I remember thinking, ‘Man, I hope this dude wants to do this movie because it feels like he’s going places, man,’” he continued.
“I realized that he hadn’t been a lead on a television show or in a movie yet and I said, ‘Man, we got to change that.’ But I had no idea how much we would have a chance to change that.”
Coogler described Jordan as having a “worker’s approach,” describing how the Black Panther actor gets “straight to” whatever he’s handed, whether it be emotional or physical. This was especially tested for the first Creed film, in which Coogler laughingly admitted he was “so happy” they didn’t “kill him” with all the physical work.
“And then it came time for Black Panther [and we] got to work with our incredible brother, Chadwick [Boseman], who I feel is smiling on us right now,” Coogler added of the late Marvel star who died at the age of 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer.
“Getting to watch them battle every day, I knew I was looking at something special. I felt like I was looking at, like, Denzel [Washington] and Will [Smith] or Wesley [Snipes] in their prime and in the same movie in a way that we never got to see them. I felt like the luckiest director on the planet every day on that set.”
Finishing his speech, Coogler said “it’s been a ride of a lifetime” working beside Jordan and “watching him blossom into the phenomenal global icon that he is.
“Knowing that our relationship may be a blueprint for more relationships for the next part that’s coming up — it’s exhilarating [and] it’s humbling,” he added. “I’m thankful for your family, bro. They’ve become our family. I’m thankful for your dreams, they’ve become our dreams as well… I’m proud of you, man.”
Majors likened Jordan’s road to success to that of the hero Hercules, saying, “Michael, to me, represents a mythical character. I don’t think it’s an act of luck or an act of chance that so many people see him as Adonis [and] that he was cast as Adonis. He has taken this story and pushed it forward… I don’t think that’s a coincidence.”
“In my time with Mike — I like to say I’m new to the party — I’ve seen him fight in many rounds in many things,” Majors continued. “Sometimes it’s his body giving out in the day of shooting and him looking at me in the eye and saying, ‘Let’s go, let’s continue.’ When it’s hot, we’re tired, his empathetic agility is being pushed to its Nth degree. He’s gotta deal with my crazy a**, everybody pulling on him, and I’m giving him hell in [the ring], but he’s dealing with it with a mythic effort, with a god-like integrity.”
Recalling his time on set, Majors said, “I watched my brother deal with many things… I watched him stand up straight and smile and be grateful and keep his heart open when folks are coming when the haters coming — and the haters come, bro — I watched him move with integrity each and every round… I watched this man, this movie star, drive to the hood and sit in a Motel 6 with me at 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a Tuesday and we don’t know each other. That’s a champion heart.”
“It breaks my heart with so much joy and satisfaction to call you my friend, brother,” the Magazine Dreams star finished. “I see that look in your eyes, we’ve all witnessed it, that’s what this moment is. Today, brother, you go from man to god. You sit among Olympians. I honour you, I love you and we are all so proud to call you our son, our brother, but chiefly, I am extremely honoured to call you my friend. No man on the planet I know deserves it more. I love you to the moon and back.”
The star was honoured with his star days before the March 3 release of Creed III, in which he pulled double duty as director and star for the highly anticipated third instalment of the Rocky spinoff franchise. According to critics, he excelled on both counts.
The film picks up four years after the events of Creed II, finding Adonis (Jordan) and his wife, Bianca (Tessa Thompson), comfortably successful in their life as they happily raise their daughter, Amara (Mila Davis-Kent) — who was born in the previous instalment — in Los Angeles.
Amid this bliss, things take a turn after Adonis is surprised by the arrival of an old friend and former boxing prodigy, Damian (Majors).
“It feels good, it feels like people are getting the work, you know? They understand what we’re trying to say, what we are doing and it feels good to be understood a little bit,” the star previously told ET. “Especially when it doesn’t always happen this way, not even in the third instalment. I just didn’t have expectations of the love for what it was, but we use that as fuel and we just try to be truthful and tell the best story we could.”
“[The directing] interest sparks back [to] Fruitville Station when I first kind of saw a guy, up close and personal, that looked like me, directing, commanding the set,” Jordan shares, adding that although Coogler — who directed the first Creed and remained as executive producer for both sequels — was filming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever while he was filming Creed III, the veteran director readily made himself available for any “911 phone calls.”
Still, Jordan says Coogler wanted to allow him the space to “let me do my thing” and make his mark on the franchise that has become so personal to him.
With such a successful experience under his belt, it’s no surprise that Jordan is ready to tackle the next project. The actor asserts that, despite the pressure of both starring in and helming a film, he would do it again with no question.
“I was so comfortable with the story, the character [and] world… I had my handle on the character, you know, that was the only guy that I played three times before, and over the course of, like, eight or nine years,” he explains. “That was a big chunk of my career and the changes and the growth that I was going through. So, to be able to deliver those lines and maybe work out some of my s**t and his s**t at the same time, that’s what actors go for.”