Actor Michael B. Jordan may be best known for playing boxer Adonis Creed in the 2015 film "Creed," or more recently, Erik Killmonger in Marvel's record-shattering "Black Panther."
Aside from being leading roles in critically-acclaimed films, the characters share another commonality: They're both roles written for black actors.
Adonis Creed is the son of Apollo Creed, a character in Sylvester Stallone's "Rocky" franchise that was inspired by Muhammad Ali. Killmonger, "Black Panther's" main antagonist, is of Wakandan origin.
So it might be a surprise for fans to learn that Jordan has made it a point to audition for roles written for white actors.
Joining Issa Rae of HBO's "Insecure" for Variety's "Actor on Actor" interview series, Jordan explained why he told his agents he wanted to stop auditioning for roles intended for African-Americans.
"I said, 'I don't want it. I want to go for any white males. That's it. That's all I want to do,'" Jordan recalled during the interview, which was published Tuesday. "Me playing that role is going to make it what it is."
He added that he didn't want to play characters that had any "pre-bias" attached to them.
"Sometimes writers write what they know, what their encounters of us would be," he said, gesturing to himself and Rae. "That's a slight bias into the character."
Jordan said a big turning point in his career was landing a major role in "Chronicle," a 2012 science-fiction film directed by Josh Trank. Jordan played Steve Montgomery, a character who was originally named Steve Kaczynski, a white teenager.
"I wanted to go out for those roles because it was just playing people," Jordan said. "It didn't have to be the specific, 'You're playing the black guy in this.'"
The actor also commented on the limited availability of roles written for black actors.
"You have every young black actor from the age of 17 to 40 going out for it," he said. "It was like how do you reverse-engineer that problem, that kind of pitted competition between each other, and just put more opportunities out there for people to eat and be successful at what they want to do."The Washington Post