Having starred in the previous two Creed movies, Michael B. Jordan carries an extra weight on his shoulders in Part III: he’s making his directorial debut here. Good thing he’s had some powerful support in his corner across his career.
"I’ve been blessed to work with and learn from incredible directors over the years, like Ryan [Coogler: Creed, Fruitvale Station, Black Panther] and Steven [Caple Jr.: Creed 2], who gave me a ton of guidance and mentorship heading into this process," Jordan tells Total Film in the new issue of the magazine, featuring Oppenheimer on the cover.
"Ryan was one of the first people that really solidified directing as an aspiration for me. I remember him saying on the first Creed, ‘It’s never the right time. You just gotta jump in the deep end and go for it.’ I also received a ton of mentorship from Denzel Washington... There’s not a lot of people who have directed themselves."
Shouldering a task of this magnitude, it’s not surprising that Jordan calls Creed 3, "the most challenging thing I’ve done in my career, by far". As he says, "Whether it was working with all the departments to make sure they have what they need to go do their job, staying in shape, developing the story, or having my own process as an actor with Adonis. I was pushing myself to new limits daily."
With Jordan branching out in terms of his career and skill set, it’s fitting that the film finds Adonis ‘Donnie’ Creed in a new place and ready to take on Jonathan Majors' former friend Damian Anderson. See an exclusive picture of the franchise newcomer, previously best known for playing Kang in the MCU, below.
The estranged son of late heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, Donnie has risen through the ranks over the previous two movies to become a boxing star in his own right, but his mentor, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), will not appear in Creed III.
"We wouldn’t have Donnie without Rocky, and he will always be a pillar in Donnie’s life, but Creed III is really the dawn of a new era for the franchise and the character,” explains Jordan. "It was really important from a storytelling perspective to get to a pivotal point in Donnie’s career a few years down the line where he has really established himself with his professional career and his family."
For more on Creed 3, pick up a copy of Total Film’s 2023 Preview issue, fronted by Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. You can pre-order here, and the magazine will be available in shops and on digital newsstands from Thursday, December 15. And the print version of this new issue comes with a special 52-page supplement counting down the best films, must-see moments, and breakout stars of 2022.
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