Michael B. Jordan is set to hit your TV screens on Friday (Apr.30) when his new film Without Remorse premieres exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. Cassius Life got a chance to talk with Hollywood’s brightest start about his new film, which is also the first release under his production company Outlier Society in conjunction with Amazon Studios.
In the film, Michael B. Jordan plays a tough-as-nails, no-nonsense elite Navy SEAL, John Kelly. Following a sketchy mission, Clark’s perfect life as a civilian is turned upside down when his pregnant wife, played by his good friend Lauren London — whom he spoke about glowingly in an interview with Hello Beautiful — is killed during an assassination attempt on his life. With the world believing John Kelly is dead, John Clark is born, and he embarks on a mission to take out the people who killed his wife and unborn child without remorse while uncovering a plot that could trigger an all-out war between the United States and Russia.
In our exclusive conversation with the actor, we touched on many topics, including preparing for the role mentally and physically, turning a traditionally white character into a Black action hero, and more. In the film, Jordan’s character is involved some intense action sequences, whether it’s sitting in a car on fire while trying to get information out of someone and being underwater for extended periods of time. We asked him about the training that went into that, and Jordan revealed that he underwent some serious military training to get ready for the role.
“It was intense,” Jordan begins. “Just training with military divers to be able to really prepare me for stressful high-intensity situations under the water. To be able to clear malfunctions, to be able to tackle tasks, I think it was something… you know, months of training and to be able to hold your breath and to become comfortable under there so you don’t freak out and keep your heart rate low so you can stay under there as long as possible was something I really enjoyed getting through.”
As far as the mental aspect of taking on the role of John Kelly, who goes through a bevy of emotions in the film, Jordan explained that years of working on the script for the character helped him get ready to play the role.
“When you have a couple of years to develop a script and a project you really work through, you know scene by scene, character beats. So you know after a while you start to know him, in and out.” Jordan revealed. “So by the time you actually get to set, you’re just living, you’re living a moment because you already did the homework, and I think that was kinda my approach that I took with John.”
Fans of Tom Clancy’s “Ryanverse” are well aware that the character is traditionally a white guy in the Jack Ryan novels and films. Jordan puts a totally different spin on the character by turning him into a Black guy. The actor is no stranger in taking on characters that have been known to be white. In 2015’s Fantastic Four film, the actor took on the role of Johnny Storm, aka The Human Torch, a traditionally white superhero that left some white comic book purists BIG MAD.
We asked Jordan what he would say about people complaining that John Kelly is now a Black man. Jordan kept it real short and sweet with his answer, saying “he wouldn’t say anything” to them about it. “I’m trying to tell a story, you know, and make a movie that’s personal to me and hopefully personal to a lot of other people as well, and hopefully they enjoy that journey.”
Jordan also spoke on the character’s new story arc in this origin story being that he is now being viewed under a Black scope. In one particular scene with his co-star Jodie-Turner Smith who plays his commanding officer LT. Commander Karen Greer, Kelly touches on serving a country dutifully that doesn’t love them back. Jordan broke down the inclusion of that line to us.
“Me and Akiva [producer on the film] we sat down, and I think when you take a character like John Kelly you know, that’s traditionally one way for a long time and you put him under a Black man’s scope and lens you know it changes all the situations,” Jordan began.” It changes his point of view, his perception, you know the universal stems from the specific, so to be able to you know [feel] how John Kelly would be feeling in this moment I felt like that line resonated, it made sense.”
We also asked Jodie Turner-Smith about that same line. She says, “I think it’s so complicated, the relationship between America and its Black citizens,” she began. “It obviously all can’t all be summed up in one line, but I definitely thought it was really interesting to come from the perspective and to hear that.”
We spoke with Jordan about his love for video games, specifically Tom Clancy games like Rainbow Six, which has a unique relationship with the Without Remorse film, and the possibility of having his own video game. We also touched on another scene that reminded us of the iconic elevator fight scene from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Jordan joked that his fight scene was different because he didn’t have any super-soldier serum.
We also asked him what’s the one thing he has done in his life without remorse; he responded his work ethic, describing it as “relentless.”
No lies detected there.
You can listen to the entire interview above and catch Without Remorse streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime Video Friday, April 30.
Photos: Amazon Studios / Without Remorse