My first real impression of Mike was on Friday Night Lights. He had this amazing combination of sweetness, real goodness, and a little bit of danger. It’s a very unique alchemy. And it’s something I sensed in all his work. I knew he was a serious actor, and I knew he had the charisma of a star.
For Fantastic Four, Mike didn’t have to audition. He was the first person we knew we wanted to cast, and we never talked about anyone else. He had worked with our director on Chronicle, and they were very close. We knew he could play the mischief and fun of the character, without compromising the heavier aspects of the role, of being a young man who lost his mother, lost his way in life, and struggles over the span of the film to find real purpose.
Mike is very much the guy he seems to be. He enjoys his life, he takes his work seriously, he has a real plan for his future. He’s been acting since he was a little kid, but he’s not one of those actors who never lived in the world. He’s one of the sane ones.
You definitely get to know your cast off-set as well as on. When you’re filming away from home (which is pretty much all the time), you end up hanging out with people from work. We shot Fantastic Four in Baton Rouge, which is a pretty small town compared with major cities, so I spent a lot of time with the actors off set, at dinners, going to movies. We became a little family. The same is true on the X-Men films, and pretty much any set. I think it’s especially important when the characters are meant to be friends and/or family. The bonding off-set translates to their comfort and confidence on screen.
Five years from now, Michael will be wherever he wants to be, really. I suspect his career will look a lot like it looks at the moment, where he’s balancing these big blockbuster movies with smaller Indie films. He has the ability to play heavy and light, to do the character dramatic work but also have fun and be purely and profoundly entertaining.
Simon Kinberg is one of the busiest writer-producers in Hollywood today as the architect of Fox Studios' Marvel movie universe, as well as helping to build Disney's Star Wars universe. His upcoming film, Fantastic Four, stars Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, and Toby Kebbell. It hits theaters on July 1st.
From the start, Michael B. Jordan has been almost effortlessly good at being raw and vulnerable in a way that is absolutely fearless. He is best known from his role of Steve in Chronicle and Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station. (Image credit: Fantastic Four/20th Century Fox)