10 Fascinating Facts About Michael B. Jordan

Barry Wetcher, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Barry Wetcher, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Since making his acting debut in an episode of The Sopranos in 1999 and breaking out as Wallace, a guilt-ridden drug dealer in The Wire, in 2002, Michael B. Jordan has gone on to star in several Ryan Coogler-helmed films, including Black Panther, Fruitvale Station, and Creed.

Jordan has proven his versatility as an actor in dramas as well as comedies, such as That Awkward Moment, and even TV soaps, like All My Children. The 31-year-old actor has made it clear that he’s here to stay, and we’re not complaining. Here are 10 things you might not have known about the Creed II star.

1. The “B” stands for Bakari.

Michael B. Jordan was named after his father, Michael A. Jordan, and although he has no plan to continue the tradition should he have a son, his middle initial is pretty cool. The “B” stands for Bakari, which means “of noble promise” in Swahili.

2. He had no intention of becoming an actor.

Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther (2018)
Disney/Marvel Studios

Although Jordan is one of the biggest names in Hollywood today, he didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming an actor. While leaving a doctor’s appointment one day, he and his mother met someone whose own kids were doing some modeling, which gave Jordan’s mom an idea. She took him to an audition, and he quickly booked a commercial. Then another. He did a bit of modeling, too, appearing in advertisements for companies such as Modell’s Sporting Goods and Toys ‘R’ Us. Those gigs led to a small role on The Sopranos, which is when Jordan started thinking bigger.

"I kinda got into it, and it just sort of elevated,” he told Inside Jersey. “It wasn't something that I always wanted to do. But like a lot of kids, you know, I didn't know what I wanted to be. And modeling, acting, it got me out of school early, got me a chance to go into the city, so I was all into that.”

3. He credits much of his success to luck.

Though it would be hard to reach the level of success Jordan has without talent, he believes that it has a lot to do with luck as well. When discussing a rash of upcoming projects (including Fantastic Four and Creed) with Inside Jersey in 2015, the actor—who grew up in Newark—credited much of his success to being in the right place at the right time.

“I wish I could take credit for a lot of it, but the roles that were in front of me were in front of me,” Jordan said. “I've just somehow managed to string together this career that's allowed me to push forward and grow. A lot of it's luck—but I know it's up to me to make the right decisions.”

4. People still want to talk to him about The Wire.

J.D. Williams and Michael B. Jordan in 'The Wire'
HBO

In 2002, Jordan landed a plum part in The Wire, playing a 16-year-old drug dealer named Wallace who struggles with the violence and other harsh realities that come with his occupation. Though—*spoiler alert*—Jordan didn’t make it to season two, his character made a powerful impact. “Wallace was the heart of the show,” Jordan said in All the Pieces Matter, Jonathan Abrams’s oral history of the series, which was released earlier this year.

“To see that end so viciously with his two boys, his two best friends … That death scene is something people always come up to me and talk about and say how they were crying and how much it affected them,” Jordan continued. “Years later. It’s just a testament to the writing and the crazy performance. It was awesome.”

5. He asked his mom to stay away on his final day of filming The Wire.

As Jordan was still a teen while filming The Wire, his mom was often there on set with him on shooting days. In speaking with Abrams, he recalled how he asked his mom not to come to his final day of filming—as he knew that it was going to be an emotionally taxing day. He told Abrams:

“I kind of knew it was coming. Especially when you get that knock on your trailer door from David Simon. I’ll never forget it. He said ‘I love you. The audience loves you. We’ve got to kill you. We’ve got to kill you off.’ I remember telling my mom not to show up on set that day. My mom gets extremely emotional, and this was kind of too much. I didn’t want her to see it. It was a long time to shoot that shot. We definitely overshot that for sure. I remember them having to duct-tape the windows, so the lights wouldn’t go through, because we were going so late into the night, to the morning. But it was really quiet. The crew knew.

Everybody showed up. Even if they weren’t working, they kind of showed up on set. I know Andre Royo did, for sure. He was definitely a mentor of mine on that show. He showed up to help me get into the mindset and really talk me through it. I remember getting the squib under my shirt. They had a tube running down my leg with warm water for when he peed himself, when he got scared and sh**. Me and J.D. Williams, who played Bodie, we’re both from Newark, New Jersey, and we both spent a lot of time on that show together, and I learned a lot from him over that show. We was just talking to each other, and then [when we started shooting the scene] it was like I didn’t even know him.”

6. He was considered for two Marvel roles before he was cast in Fantastic Four.

Michael B. Jordan and Kate Mara in 'Fantastic Four' (2015)
Ben Rothstein, Marvel Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Although 2015’s Fantastic Four was a complete flop, Jordan thankfully got another chance to act in a Marvel film, scoring the role of Eric Killmonger in Black Panther. But before all of that, the actor was considered for the role of Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), which ultimately went to his Chronicle co-star Dane DeHaan, and for Sam Wilson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), a role that went to Anthony Mackie. It was clearly fate for Jordan to be in a superhero film ... or two.

7. he NEARLY quit acting.

In a recent cover story interview with Vanity Fair, Jordan recalled how he struggled after moving to Los Angeles and came very close to quitting the acting game altogether. “I remember when I first came to L.A., and me and my mom, we went to all these agencies trying to get representation and they passed on me,” Jordan recalled. "WME passed on me, CAA passed on me, Gersh, all these guys f***ing passed on me.” Jordan came close to calling it a day on his acting career altogether, but then he bumped into Andre Royo—who played Bubbles on The Wire—at a party, who helped him look at his situation from a different perspective.

“He was stressed out,” Royo said. “He was like, ‘Yo, I’m not working enough, sh*t is crazy, I think I’m going to go back to New York.’ And he was really on some ‘boo-hoo’ sh*t. And I was like, ‘Yo dog, are you kidding me right now? You in your early 20s and you’re around motherf***ers trying to feed families who ain’t working. Snap out of it.’”

Fortunately, Jordan listened.

8. He lives with his parents.

While it might seem like an adult living with their parents would be due to financial problems, it’s kind of the opposite for Jordan. While on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the actor explained how it was always his dream to buy his parents a home. In 2015, he fulfilled that, purchasing a mansion in Los Angeles for the whole family to live in.

9. He’s obsessed with comics and anime.

In a feature on Jordan from DuJour, he was described as a “closeted nerd,” as he told the publication he spends his free time collecting graphic novels and watching anime. He also uses social media to talk about both subjects, and has called anime his “guilty pleasure,” though he backtracked and jokingly changed it to "women" instead.

10. He plans to become a "one-man movie studio."

Like many actors before him, Jordan knows that the best way to shape his future in Hollywood is to secure a place behind the camera as well as in front of it. As such, he has started producing some of his own work—he served as an executive producer on both Fahrenheit 451 and Creed II—and has plans to take his behind-the-scenes work even further.

“I want to create projects for Brad Pitt, but at the same time I want to be able to create a movie for Will Smith, or Denzel, or Lupita, or Tessa,” Jordan told Vanity Fair. “It’s gonna be eclectic. It’s gonna be animation. It’s gonna be non-scripted. It’s gonna be digital. It’s gonna be film, television. It’s gonna be video games.”

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer

Amazon
Amazon

If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

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Q&A: Kristen Bell Celebrates Diversity In Her New Kid's Book, The World Needs More Purple People

Jim Spellman/Getty Images
Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Kristen Bell is one of those household names that brings to mind a seemingly endless list of outstanding performances in both TV and film. She is Veronica Mars. She is the very memorable Sarah Marshall. She's the voice of Gossip Girl. She just recently wrapped up her NBC series The Good Place. Your nieces and nephews likely know her as Princess Anna from the Frozen films. She also has one of the most uplifting and positive presences on social media.

Now, adding to her long list of accomplishments, Kristen Bell is the published author of a new children’s book called The World Needs More Purple People. Born out of seeing how cultural conversations were skewing more toward the things that divide us, the new picture book—which Bell co-authored with Benjamin Hart—encourages kids to see what unites us all as humans.

We spoke with Kristen Bell about what it means to be a purple person, her new animated series Central Park, and becoming a foster failure. We also put her knowledge of sloths to the test.

How did The World Needs More Purple People book come to be?

Basically my genius buddy, Ben Hart, and I were looking around and sort of seeing how our children were watching us debate healthily at the dinner table, which is fine. But it occurred to us that everything they were seeing was a disagreement. And that’s because that can be fun for adults, but it’s not a good basis for kids to start out on. We realized we were not really giving our kids a ton of examples of us, as adults, talking about the things that bring us together. So The World Needs More Purple People was born.

Book cover of Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart's 'The World Needs More Purple People'
Random House via Amazon

We decided to create a roadmap of similarities to give kids a jumping off point of how to look for similarities ... [because] if you can see similarities, you’re more likely to walk through the world with an open mind. But if you walk into a conversation seeing only differences, your mind is going to think differently of that person’s opinion and you just never know when you’re going to hear an opinion that might enlighten you. So we wanted to give kids this roadmap to follow to basically say, “Here are some great features that no one can argue with. Have these features and you’ll have similarities with almost everyone on the planet.”

Part of the reason I love the book so much is because it encourages kids to ask questions, even if they're silly. What are some silly questions you’ve had to answer for your kids?

Oh my god. How much time do you have? Once she asked in rapid fire: Is Santa Claus real? Why is Earth? Who made dogs?

How do you even answer that?

It was too much; I had to walk away. Kids have a ton of questions, and as they get older and more verbal, the funny thing that happens is they get more insecure. So we wanted to encourage the question-asking, and also encourage the uniqueness of every child. Which is why Dan Wiseman, who did our illustrations, really captured this middle point between Ben and I. Ben is very sincere, and I am very quirky. And I feel like the illustrations were captured brilliantly because we also wanted a ton of diversity because that is what the book is about.

The book is about seeing different things and finding similarities. Each kid in the book looks a little bit different, but also a little bit the same. The message at the end of the book is with all these features that you can point out and recognize in other people—loving to laugh, working really hard, asking great questions ... also know that being a purple person means being uniquely you in the hopes that kids will recognize that purple people come in every color.

What was it like behind-the-scenes of writing a children’s book with two little girls at home? Were they tough critics?

Shockingly, no. They did not have much interest in the fact that I was writing a children’s book until there were pictures. Then they were like, “Oh now I get it.” But prior to that, when I’d run the ideas by them, they were not as interested. But I did read it to them. They gave me the two thumbs up. Ben has two kids as well, and all our kids are different ages. Once we got the thumbs up from the 5-year-old, the 7-year-old, the 8-year-old, and the 11-year-old, we thought, “OK, this is good to go.”

I hope that people, and kids especially, really do apply this as a concept. We would love to see this as a curriculum going into schools if they wanted to use it to ask: What happened today in your life that was purple? What could you do to make tomorrow more purple? Like as a concept of a way of living.

Weirdly, writing a children’s book was a way of getting to the adults. If it’s a children’s book, there is a high probability an adult is going to either be reading it to you or be there while you’re reading it—which means you’re getting two demographics. If we had just written a novel about this kind of concept, we’d never reach the kids. But by writing a kid's book, we also access the adults.

Your new show Central Park looks so incredible. What can you tell us about the show and your character Molly?

I am so excited for the show to come out. I’ve seen it and it is exceptional. It is so, so, so funny and so much fun. I signed on because I got a phone call from my friend Josh Gad, who said, “I’m going to try to put together a cartoon for us to work on.” And I said, “Yes. Goodbye.” And he and Loren Bochard, who created Bob’s Burgers, took basically all of our friends—Leslie Odom Jr., Stanley Tucci, Kathryn Hahn, Tituss Burgess, Daveed Diggs, and myself—and created a family who lives in the middle of Central Park.

I play a teenager named Molly who is very socially awkward but has this incredible, relentlessly creative, vivacious personality going on only inside her head … and it’s a musical! So, she's awkward on the outside but when she sings her songs she really comes to life. And she's a comic book artist, so the cartoon often switches to what she's seeing in her head.

It's so funny and Josh Gad plays this busker who lives in Central Park, who is the narrator. Stanley Tucci plays this older woman named Bitsy who is trying to build a shopping mall in the center of Central Park, and the family’s job is to basically save Central Park. But the music is so incredible. We’ve got two music writers, Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel, who write the majority of the music, but we also have guest writers that come in every episode. So Sara Bareilles wrote some music and Cyndi Lauper wrote some music. It is such a fun show.

My husband, who does not like cartoons or musicals, watched the first couple of episodes, and he looked at me and said, “You’ve got something really special in your hands.” And he doesn’t like anything. It made me so happy. I cannot wait until this show comes out, I am so proud of it.

What was it like to reunite with Josh Gad on another musical animated series that isn't Frozen?

Josh and I talk a lot, and we had a lot of behind-the-scenes conversations about how we can work together again, just because we adore each other. And part of it is because we get along socially, and part of it is because we trust each other comedically. He's a creator and writer more so than I am, so I usually leave it up to him and say, "What’s our next project?" We have other things in the pipeline we would love to do together, but [Central Park] was an immediate yes because I trust how he writes. Josh is at every single one of my recording sessions; he is very hands-on with the shows that he does or produces or creates. I trust him as much as I trust my husband, creatively, and that’s saying a lot.

Given your well-documented love of sloths, we do have to throw out a few true or false questions about sloths and put your knowledge to the test …

Oh my gosh. OK, now I'm nervous. Hit me.

True or false: Sloths fart more than humans.

Fart more than humans?

Yes.

I’m going to say it's true.

It’s actually false. Sloths don’t fart at all. They might be the only mammal on the planet that does not fart.

You’re kidding. Another reason to love them. You know, I was trying to think medically about it. I know they only poop once a week and that if you only go poop once a week ... I thought, “Well in order to keep your GI healthy, perhaps you have to have some sort of flow from the top to the bottom during the seven-day waiting period until you release.”

True or false: Sloths are so slow that algae sometimes grows on them.

One hundred percent true. In the wild, they’re always covered in algae and it helps their fur, all those microorganisms. But in zoos, they don’t have it.

Nice. OK, last one. True or false: Sloths poop from trees.

No way. They go down to the ground, and they rub their little tushies on the ground, and then they go back up.

You are correct.

I know a fair amount about sloths but the farting thing was new. My kids will be excited to hear that.

We heard recently that you are a part of the “foster failure” club. What went wrong? Erright?

Well, what I learned from Veronica Mars is you root for and cherish and uplift the underdog always. And my first foster failure was in 2018; I found the most undesirable dog that existed on the planet. She is made of toothpicks, it is impossible for her to gain weight. She has one eye. She looks like a walking piece of garbage. Her name is Barbara. She's 11 years old. And I saw a picture of her online and I said, “Yes. I just want to bring her over. I don’t even need to know anything else about her other than this picture," which was the most hideous picture. I mean it looks like a Rorschach painting or something. It was so awful. I was like, “She’s mine. I’ll take care of her. I’ve got this.” And it turns out she is quite lovely even though she can be pretty annoying. But she is our Barbara Biscuit, and she is one of the most charismatic dogs I have ever met. She piddles wherever she damn well pleases. So that is a bummer, because she is untrainable, but we love her.

That was our first failure. Then last year, we genuinely attempted to just foster a dog named Frank. And about two weeks in, I realized Frank was in love with me—like in a human way. He thought he was my boyfriend.

Oh no …

I just felt like … I didn’t even want a new dog—well I shouldn’t say that, because I always want all the dogs—but we weren’t planning on getting a new dog. But I had to have a conversation with my family and I said, “I think it’s going to be like child separation if I separate him. We have to keep him.” And sure enough, he can’t be more than two feet from me at any time during the day.

Does he still give you “the eyes”?

Oh my gosh. Bedroom eyes all day long. I can’t sit down without him like … not even just sitting comfortably in my lap. He has to have my arm in his mouth or part of my hair in his mouth. He’s trying to get back in my womb or something.

That’s love.

Yeah, I said, “What am I going to do? The guy is in love with me. He can live here.” So there is foster failure number two.

Wow, so it’s Frank and Barbara.

Frank and Barbara. And we also have Lola, a 17-year-old corgi-chow chow mix. Who I have had since she was one-and-a-half, who was also a pound puppy. She is our queen bee.

Before you go, we do this thing on Twitter called #HappyHour, where we ask our followers some get-to-know-you questions. If you could change one rule in any board game, what would it be?

I am obviously going to Catan ... oh I know exactly what I would do. In Catan, I would allow participants to buy a city without buying a settlement first. In Catan, you have to upgrade from a settlement to a city first, which is a waste of cards. If you have the cards for a city, you should be able to buy a city.

What was your favorite book as a child?

My favorite book as a child was Are You My Mother?

Aw, I love that one. I forgot about Are You My Mother?

It’s a good one.